Law Blog Tag: staff accounting bulletin no. 99

Transparency in the Financial Markets and the Materiality Standards

November 27, 2009 in SEC Guidance, Securities Attorneys

The disclosure requirements at the heart of the federal securities laws involve a delicate and complex balancing act. Too little information provides an inadequate basis for investment decisions; too much can muddle and diffuse disclosure and thereby lessen its usefulness. The legal concept of materiality provides the dividing line between what information companies must disclose, and must disclose correctly, and everything else. Materiality, however, is a highly judgmental standard, often colored by a variety of factual presumptions.