Supply chain issues continue to plague just about every industry and the continuing attack by Russia against the Ukraine, gives little hope of a respite in the near future. The recent easing of congestion at the handful of U.S. ports big enough to accommodate container ships is likely more a result of inflation and a summer slowdown than effective logistical management. Amid the ongoing difficulties, the SEC has published a sample letter to companies regarding disclosures pertaining to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and related supply chain issues.
SEC Sample Comment Letter
The SEC is of the view that companies should provide detailed disclosure, to the extent material or if required by a prescriptive rule, regarding: (i) direct or indirect exposure to Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine through their operations, employee base, investments in Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine, securities traded in Russia, sanctions against Russian or Belarusian individuals or entities, or legal or regulatory uncertainty associated with operating in or exiting
It has been a very busy year for SEC rule making, guidance, executive actions and all matters capital markets. Continuing its ongoing disclosure effectiveness initiative on November 19, 2020, the SEC adopted amendments to the disclosures in Item 303 of Regulation S-K – Management’s Discussion & Analysis of Financial Conditions and Operations (MD&A). The proposed rule had been released on January 30, 2020 (see HERE). Like all recent disclosure effectiveness rule amendments and proposals, the rule changes are meant to modernize and take a more principles-based approach to disclosure requirements. In addition, the rule changes are intended to reduce repetition and disclosure of information that is not material.
The new rules eliminate Item 301 – Selected Financial Data – and amend Items 302(a) – Supplementary Financial Information and Item 303 – MD&A. In particular, the final rules revise Item 302(a) to replace the current tabular disclosure with a principles-based approach and revise MD&A to: (i) to
Continuing its disclosure effectiveness initiative, on January 30, 2020, the SEC proposed amendments to Management’s Discussion & Analysis of Financial Conditions and Operations (MD&A) required by Item 303 of Regulation S-K. In addition, to eliminate duplicative disclosures, the SEC also proposed to eliminate Item 301 – Selected Financial Data and Item 302 – Supplementary Financial Information. Like all recent disclosure effectiveness rule amendments and proposals, the rule changes are meant to modernize and take a more principles based approach to disclosure requirements. In addition, the proposed rule changes are intended to reduce repetition and disclosure of information that is not material.
On the same day the SEC issued an Interpretive Release on MD&A. A week earlier the SEC issued three new compliance and disclosure interpretations on the subject.
Among the proposed changes, the new rule would add a new Item 303(a) to state the principal objectives of MD&A, replace the specific requirement to disclose off-balance-sheet arrangements with
In late 2019, the SEC published its latest version of its semiannual regulatory agenda and plans for rulemaking with the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is an executive office of the President, publishes a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (“Agenda”) with actions that 60 departments, administrative agencies and commissions plan to issue in the near and long term. The Agenda is published twice a year, and for several years I have blogged about each publication.
Like the prior Agendas, the spring 2019 Agenda is broken down by (i) “Pre-rule Stage”; (ii) Proposed Rule Stage; (iii) Final Rule Stage; and (iv) Long-term Actions. The Proposed and Final Rule Stages are intended to be completed within the next 12 months and Long-term Actions are anything beyond that. The number of items to be completed in a 12-month time frame has increased with 47 items as compared to 40 on the
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.
On February 20, 2018, the SEC issued new interpretative guidance on public company disclosures related to cybersecurity risks and incidents. In addition to addressing public company disclosures, the new guidance reminds companies of the importance of maintaining disclosure controls and procedures to address cyber-risks and incidents and reminds insiders that trading while having non-public information related to cyber-matters could violate federal insider-trading laws.
The prior SEC guidance on the topic was dated, having been issued on October 13, 2011. For a review of this prior guidance, see HERE. The new guidance is not dramatically different from the 2011 guidance.
The topic of cybersecurity has been in the forefront in recent years, with the SEC issuing a series of statements and creating two new cyber-based enforcement initiatives targeting the protection of retail investors, including protection related to distributed ledger technology (DLT) and initial coin or cryptocurrency offerings (ICO’s). Moreover, the SEC has asked the House Committee on Financial
On May 17, 2016, the SEC published 12 new Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) related to the use of non-GAAP financial measures by public companies. The SEC permits companies to present non-GAAP financial measures in their public disclosures subject to compliance with Regulation G and item 10(e) of Regulation S-K. Regulation G and Item 10(e) require reconciliation to comparable GAAP numbers, the reasons for presenting the non-GAAP numbers, and govern the presentation format itself including requiring equal or greater prominence to the GAAP financial information.
This is the second part in a two-part blog series on the use of non-GAAP financial information. In the first blog I summarized the new C&DI, and in this blog I am reviewing Regulation G and Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K. The first blog in the series can be read HERE.
In the last couple of months SEC Chair Mary Jo White, SEC Deputy Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker, Chief Accountant James Schnurr and
On March 6, 2015, the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee (“Committee”) of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) submitted its second comment letter to the SEC making recommendations for changes to Regulation S-K. The Committee’s recommendations are aimed at improving the quality of business and financial information that must be disclosed in periodic reports and registration statements in accordance with Regulation S-K. I note that I am a member of the Committee, but not a member of the sub-committee that drafted the comment letter, nor did I have any input in regard to the comment letter.
The recommendations fall into four major categories: materiality; duplication; consolidation of existing interpretive and other guidance from the SEC; and obsolescence. The recommendations in the letter are based on themes articulated by the Division of Corporation Finance in a 2013 report to Congress mandated by the JOBS Act and subsequent speeches by the Division’s Director, Keith F. Higgins.
The Committee’s letter recommends that
Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operation, commonly referred to as MD&A, is an integral part of annual (Form 10-K) and quarterly (Form 10-Q) reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). MD&A is also included in registration statements filed under both the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Form 10) and Securities Act of 1933 (Form S-1). MD&A requires the most input and effort from officers and directors of a company and, due to the many components of required information, often generates SEC review and comments. Item 303 of Regulation S-K sets forth the required content for MD&A. This discussion will be limited to the requirements for small public companies (i.e., those with revenues of less than $75 million).
A MD&A discussion for quarterly reports on Form 10-Q is abbreviated from the requirements for annual reports on Form 10-K and registration statements and should concentrate on updating and supplementing the annual report discussion. Although
One of the methods of going public is directly through a public offering. In today’s financial environment, many Issuers are choosing to self-underwrite their public offerings, commonly referred to as a Direct Public Offering (DPO). Management of companies considering a going public transaction have a desire to understand the required disclosures and content of a registration statement. This blog provides that information.
Pursuant to Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”), it is unlawful to “offer” or “sell” securities without a valid effective registration statement unless an exemption is available. Companies desiring to offer and sell securities to the public with the intention of creating a public market or going public must file with the SEC and provide prospective investors with a registration statement containing all material information concerning the company and the securities offered. Currently all domestic Issuers must use either form S-1 or S-3. Form S-3 is limited to larger filers with