On July 26, 2023, the SEC adopted final new rules requiring disclosures for both domestic and foreign companies related to cybersecurity incidents, risk management, strategy and governance. The proposed rules were published in March 2022 (see HERE). In response to numerous comments, the final rules made several changes to the proposal, including narrowing the disclosures in both the Form 8-K/6-K and annual reports on Form 10-K and 20-F.
The final rules add new Item 1.05 to Form 8-K requiring disclosure of a material cybersecurity incident including the incident’s nature, scope, timing, and material impact or reasonably likely impact on the company. An Item 1.05 Form 8-K will be due within four business days following determination that a cybersecurity incident is material. Given the sensitive nature of cybersecurity crimes, the SEC has added a provision allowing an 8-K to be delayed if it is informed by the United States Attorney General, in writing, that immediate disclosure would pose a substantial
In August 2020, the SEC adopted final amendments to Item 101 of Regulation S-K including adding a requirement for disclosures related to “human capital” (see HERE). The new rule applies to Form 10-Ks and registration statements filed after November 8, 2020. This blog will not only discuss how companies are navigating their human capital disclosures, but also the push to add more prescriptive disclosure requirements to the rules, which the SEC is considering. Amendments to the rule are currently included on the SEC’s regulatory agenda although as of now, the SEC has not published a proposal.
Drill Down on Human Capital Disclosure
Item 101(c)(2) of Regulation S-K now requires that a company discuss, in its Form 10-K and in registration statements, the following information to the extent material to an understanding of the business: “[A] description of the registrant’s human capital resources, including the number of persons employed by the registrant, and any human capital measures or objectives that
On March 21, 2022, the SEC proposed rules that would require publicly reporting companies to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports. Among other information, the new disclosures would require information about greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on a company’s business, results of operations, or financial condition, and certain climate-related financial statement metrics in a note to its audited financial statements. As a natural result of the new disclosure requirements, management of companies will be required to implement disclosure controls and procedures, including methodologies for identifying and assessing risks, and attest to their effectiveness.
The proposed rules, which are heady and complex, initially only allotted for a 39-day comment period. Considering the size (490-page rules release), scope, complexity and ramifications, the marketplace pushed back on such a short window. On May 9, 2022, the SEC extended the comment period through June 17, 2022, and all
On March 21, 2022, the SEC proposed rules that would require publicly reporting companies to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports. Among other information, the new disclosures would require information about climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on a company’s business, results of operations, or financial condition, and certain climate-related financial statement metrics in a note to its audited financial statements.
The proposed rules would include a phase-in period for all registrants, with the compliance date dependent on the registrant’s filer status, and an additional phase-in period for Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions disclosure.
The proposed rules, which are heady and complex, initially only allotted for a 39-day comment period. Considering the size (490-page rules release), scope, complexity and ramifications, the marketplace pushed back on such a short window. On May 9, 2022, the SEC extended the comment period through June 17, 2022, and all aspects of the industry are
The ESG debate continues, including within the SEC and amongst other regulators and industry participants. Firmly in support of ESG disclosures, and especially climate change matters, is SEC Chair Gary Gensler and Commissioner Allison Herren Lee, while opposing additional regulation is Commissioners Eliad L. Roisman and Hester M. Peirce. Regardless of whether new regulations are enacted (I firmly believe they are forthcoming), like all SEC disclosure items, the extent of disclosure will depend upon materiality.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of materiality is that information should be deemed material if there exists a substantial likelihood that it would have been viewed by the reasonable investor as having significantly altered the total mix of information available to the public [TSC Industries, Inc. v. Northway, Inc.]. The concept of materiality represents the dividing line between information reasonably likely to influence investment decisions and everything else.
In December 2017, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) submitted its fourth comment letter to the SEC related to the financial and business disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K. Like the SEC’s ongoing Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative, the ABA has a Disclosure Effectiveness Working Group as part of its Federal Regulation of Securities Committee (of which I am a member) and its Law and Accounting Committee.
The ABA comment letter begins with a general discussion of the materiality concept, which is the underlying basis of disclosure, and then provides input on various specific areas of disclosure under Regulation S-K. The ABA comment letter specifically responded to the SEC concept release and request for public comment on sweeping changes to certain business and financial disclosure requirements issued on April 15, 2016. See my two-part blog on the S-K Concept Release HERE and HERE.
Those that regularly read my blog know that I sometimes like to go back to basics. This blog will revisit and discuss the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (“CorpFin”) comment and review process. Back in March 2016, I wrote about the SEC comment and review process, including a description of the internal review process, review levels and breakup of industry sector reviewers. That blog can be read HERE. Since that time, the SEC has eliminated the Tandy Letter requirement. See HERE. Furthermore, on March 22, 2018, CorpFin updated its “Filing Review Process” page on the SEC website.
At the end of each calendar year, the big four accounting firms generally publish studies on CorpFin’s Comment Priorities. Their studies, and other recent publications, uniformly found that the number of comments, especially in a registration process, has dramatically declined. I have noticed this trend as well in my practice.
Also consistent in reports is a list of recent
On April 15, 2016, the SEC issued a 341-page concept release and request for public comment on sweeping changes to certain business and financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K (“S-K Concept Release”). This blog is the first part in a series discussing that concept release. The S-K Concept Release is part of the SEC Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative mandated by the JOBS Act.
The fundamental tenet of the federal securities laws is defined by one word: disclosure. In fact, the SEC neither reviews nor opines on the merits of any company or transaction, but only upon the appropriate disclosure, including risks, made by that company.
This is the first blog in a two-part series on the S-K Concept Release. In this Part I, I will discuss the background and general concepts for which the SEC provides discussion and seeks comment. In Part II of the series I will discuss the rules and recommendations made by the SEC and, in particular, those
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