In addition to being a tragedy, the Russian attack on the Ukraine has disrupted businesses around the world, caused a spike in oil prices and raised disclosure issues for public companies as we are firmly in 10-K and proxy season.. In addition to the obvious disruption of business in both the Ukraine and Russia, the U.S. and many other European countries have imposed significant sanctions against Russia that may also impact companies and U.S. capital market participants. No fewer than three of my clients have been directly affected by the conflict from the extreme of having to close an entire division to the less impactful certain non-collectability of receivables.
Disclosure requirements will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of a particular company, but key areas that may need attention are risk factors, description of business and management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A).
In August 2020, the SEC adopted final amendments to Item 105 – Risk Factors
Within the world of securities there are many sectors and facets to explore and understand. To be successful, a public company must have an active, liquid trading market. Accordingly, the trading markets themselves, including the settlement and clearing process in the US markets, is an important fundamental area of knowledge that every public company, potential public company, and advisor needs to comprehend. A basic understanding of the trading markets will help drive relationships with transfer agents, market makers, broker-dealers and financial public relations firms as well as provide the knowledge to improve relationships with shareholders. In addition, small pooled funds such as venture and hedge funds and family offices that invest in public markets will benefit from an understanding of the process.
This blog provides a historical foundation and summary of the clearance and settlement processes for US equities markets. In a future blog, I will drill down into specific trading, including short selling.
History and Background
The Paperwork Crisis