Kristen Malinconico Kristen Malinconico
Senior Director, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


October 05, 2023


While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is active with a barrage of rulemaking, it's surprising they have yet to weigh in on a service popular with businesses and consumers alike—making electronic delivery (e-delivery) the industry standard for fund disclosures and communications.  

Return to sender: Back in 2018, the Chamber backed the SEC's Rule 30e-3. This allowed investors to view shareholder reports and related documents online, rather than getting paper copies as the default option.

  • Despite its obvious advantages—especially during the pandemic—the SEC reversed the e-delivery option in 2022. 

Delayed delivery: Meanwhile, other agencies with oversight of retirement accounts have already adopted e-delivery as the default for communication, including the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan. 

  • The IRS has also embraced e-delivery and communication. According to the IRS, 94% of tax returns are e-filed, further showcasing how pivotal online platforms have become for essential tasks. 

The benefits are clear: E-delivery is not just convenient but a necessary evolution in our digital age and a preferred choice among investors. A recent report reveals that 85% of retail investors are comfortable with e-delivery being the default method for investor communications, provided they can opt-in to paper delivery if desired. 

There are several important benefits of e-delivery for today’s investors. 

  • E-delivery improves investor involvement with their savings. Online tools encourage active investment management, and digital access offers easily customizable, clear information. 
  • E-delivery cuts costs and boosts returns:Economic research shows $1 billion in cost savings from e-delivery would ultimately benefit investors through lower expenses and higher net investment returns.
  • E-delivery is a better choice for protecting consumers. With a staggering 161% increase in mail theft complaints from March 2020 to February 2021, e-delivery proves a safer default option for consumers. Digital communications offer enhanced consumer protection compared to traditional mail methods.
  • Paper preference protected: While e-delivery boasts undeniable benefits, some voice concerns over sidelining paper fans. Yet, for example, the Department of Labor assures the public that their recent e-delivery guidelines will not negatively affect those without web access. 
  • Congressional action: As the SEC hesitates, Congress needs to intervene. Improving Disclosure for Investors Act of 2023 (H.R. 1807) requires the SEC to move forward on a rulemaking that makes e-delivery the default for investor documents but keeps paper as a choice. 

Bottom line: E-delivery would modernize investor communication and disclosure and should be at the top of the SEC’s rulemaking agenda. 

About the authors

Kristen Malinconico

Kristen Malinconico

Kristen Malinconico is Senior Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. She leads the Center’s portfolios for asset management, derivatives, and fiduciary issues.

Read more