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Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

Disclosures Related To COVID-19 – SEC Updates

Last week the SEC Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) made a public statement on the importance of high-quality financial reporting for investors in light of Covid-19 on the same day that the Division of Corporation Finance issued an updated Disclosure Guidance Topic No. 9A on operations, liquidity, and capital resources disclosures related to the virus.  Disclosure Guidance Topic No. 9A supplements the previously issued Topic No. 9 (see HERE) and follows the SEC’s virtual Investor Advisory Committee (“IAC”) meeting where investors testified as to additional information that should be relayed to the capital markets by public companies (see HERE).

OCA Statement on Financial Reporting

On April 3, 2020, the SEC Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) made its first public statement on the importance of high-quality financial reporting for investors in light of Covid-19.  At that time, many companies were in the process of preparing Q1 results and reports.  Now that Q2 is coming to a

Financial Statement Disclosure Relief Under Rule 3-13

Rule 3-13 of Regulation S-X allows a company to request relief from the SEC from the financial statement disclosure requirements if they believe that the financial information is burdensome and would result in disclosure of information that goes beyond what is material to investors. Consistent with the ongoing message of open communication and cooperation, the current SEC regime has been actively encouraging companies to avail themselves of this relief and has updated the CorpFin Financial Reporting Manual to include contact information for staff members that can assist.

As part of its ongoing disclosure effectiveness initiative, the SEC is also considering amendments to the financial statement disclosure process and the publication of further staff guidance. In addition to advancing disclosure changes, allowing for relief from financial statement requirements could help encourage smaller companies to access public markets, an ongoing goal of the SEC and other financial regulators. For a review of the October 2017 Treasury Department report to President Trump, including

SEC Adopts Amendments to Simplify Disclosure Requirements

In August the SEC voted to adopt amendments to certain disclosure requirements in Regulations S-K and S-X (the “S-K and S-X Amendments”) as well as conforming changes throughout the federal securities laws and related forms. The amendments are intended to simplify and update disclosure requirements that are redundant, duplicative, overlapping, outdated or superseded with the overriding goal of reducing compliance burdens on companies without reducing material information for investors. The new amendments finalize and adopt the proposed rules that had previously been issued on July 13, 2016. See my blog on the proposed rule change HERE. The final rule changes were substantially, but not entirely, as proposed.

The Regulation S-X and S-K Amendments come as a result of the Division of Corporation Finance’s Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative and as required by Section 72002 of the FAST Act. The proposing release also requested public comment on a number of disclosure requirements that overlap with, but require information incremental to, U.S. GAAP

SEC Strategic Plan

On June 19, 2018, the SEC published a draft Strategic Plan and requested public comment on the Plan. The Strategic Plan would guide the SEC’s priorities through fiscal year 2022. The Plan reiterates the theme of serving the interests of Main Street investors, but also recognizes the changing technological world with a priority of becoming more innovative, responsive and resilient to market developments and trends. The Plan also broadly focuses on improving SEC staff’s performance using data and analytics.

The Strategic Plan begins with a broad overview about the SEC itself, a topic I go back to and reiterate on occasion, such as HERE. The SEC’s mission has remained unchanged over the years, including to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. In addition, according to the Strategic Plan, the SEC:

  • Engages and interacts with the investing public directly on a daily basis through a variety of channels, including investor roundtables and education
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The Materiality Standard; NYSE Amends Rules; FASB Proposed Guidance

The recent increase in regulatory activity and marketplace discussion on the topic of disclosure has not been limited to the small business arena or small cap marketplace.  Effective September 28, 2015, the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) amended its Rule 202.06 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual, which governs the procedures that listed companies must follow for the release of material information.  Also, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued two exposure drafts providing guidance and seeking comments on the use of materiality to help companies eliminate unnecessary disclosures in their financial statements and to determine what is “material” for inclusion in notes to the financial statements.  Both exposure drafts solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts published by FASB.

NYSE Rule 202.06 Amendment

As published in the federal register, the NYSE proposes to amend Section 202.06 of the Manual to “(i) expand the premarket hours during which listed companies are required to


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