SEC’s Proposed Rule Amendments For Disclosure Requirements For Public Companies

Posted by on November 06, 2017

SEC’s Proposed Rule Amendments For Disclosure Requirements For Public Companies- In the next few LawCasts in this series I will go 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, 2016, which amendments are slated for action this year.

First – Description of Property (Item 102) – Item 102 requires disclosure of the location and general character of the principal plants, mines, and other materially important physical properties of the company and its subsidiaries. The instructions to Item 102 require the company to disclose information reasonable to inform investors as to the suitability, adequacy, productive capacity and utilization of facilities. The proposed amendment will emphasize materiality and require a company to disclose physical properties only to the extent that such properties are material to the company.

Second- Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) (Item 303) – Item 303(a) requires a company to discuss their financial condition, changes in financial condition, and results of operations using year-to-year comparisons. The discussion is required to cover the period of the financial statements in the report (i.e., 2 years for smaller reporting companies and emerging growth companies and 3 years for others). Where trend information is relevant, the discussion may include 5 years with a disclosure of selected financial data.

The proposed amendment would allow the company to eliminate the earliest year in its discussion as long as (1) the discussion is not material to an understanding of the current financial condition; and (ii) the company has filed a prior Form 10-K with an MD&A discussion of the omitted year. The proposed amendment will also eliminate the reference to a five-year look-back in the instructions, but rather a company will be able to use any presentation or information that it believes will enhance a reader’s understanding. The amendments will flow through to foreign private issuers as well with conforming changes to the instructions for Item 5 of Form 20-F.

Next – Directors, Executive Officers, Promoters and Control Persons (Item 401) – Item 401 requires disclosure of identifying and background information about a company’s directors, executive officers, and significant employees. The proposed amendments will clarify the instructions to Item 401 to clarify that the information is not required to be duplicated in various parts of a Form 10-K and/or proxy statement, but need only appear once and may be incorporated by reference in other parts of the documents.