Proposed Reg S-K Rule Amendments
Posted by Laura Anthony, Esq. on November 13, 2017
Proposed Reg S-K Rule Amendments- In this LawCast series I have been going through the rule amendments proposed by the SEC on October 11, 2017 following which I will go through rule amendments proposed earlier on July 13, Factors (Item 503(c)) – A company is required to disclose the most significant factors that make an offering speculative or risky. Although the disclosure is intended to be principals-based, many examples are included in the instructions. The proposed amendments would move Item 503(c) to Subpart 100 to clarify that risk factors are also required in a Form 10 and Exchange Act periodic reports and not just offering-related disclosures. The proposed amendment would also eliminate the risk factor examples from the instructions.
Plan of Distribution (Item 508) – Item 508 requires disclosure about the plan of distribution for securities in an offering, including information about underwriters. The term “sub-underwriter” is referred to in the rule; however, it is not defined. The proposed rules will define a “sub-underwriter” as “a dealer that is participating as an underwriter in an offering by committing to purchase securities from a principal underwriter for the securities but is not itself in privity of contract with the issuer of the securities.”
Undertakings (Item 512) – Item 512 provides undertakings that a company must include in Part II of its registration statement, depending on the type of offering. The proposed amendments simplify the undertakings requirements and eliminate provisions that are duplicative because the requirement already exists elsewhere, or that are obsolete due to changes in the law. For example, Items 512(d), 512(e) and 512(f) are all obsolete and should be eliminated. Item 512(c) related to unsold rights offerings that are then offered to the public, can be eliminated as other provisions of the law would require the company to update (or complete a new) registration statement regardless.
Exhibits (Item 601) -The proposed amendment makes several changes to the exhibit filing requirements to streamline and reduce the volume of documents, many of which may not be material, which are required to be filed. The proposed amendments also make at least one addition to the exhibit requirements and in particular, a company must disclose a subsidiaries LEI number if one has been issued.
The proposed amendment add exhibits related to Item 202 disclosures (registered capital stock, debt securities, warrants, rights, American Depository Receipts, and other securities) to Exchange Act periodic reports on Form 10-K and 10-Q. Such exhibits are currently only required in registration statements, Form 8-K and Schedule 14A.
The proposed amendment also clarifies that schedules and exhibits to exhibits need not be filed unless they are, in and of themselves, material to an investment decision. Although historically the SEC did not object to the omission of schedules and exhibits to exhibits with personally identifiable information, the rules generally require the filing of a confidential treatment request for most omissions. The proposed amendments allow a company to omit schedules and exhibits to exhibits as long as a brief description of the omitted documents is included. In addition, a copy of the omitted items must be provided if requested by the SEC, though a confidential treatment request could also be made at that time. Likewise the proposed amendments will allow a company to redact information that is both (i) not material, and (ii) competitively harmful if disclosed.