On August 17, the SEC adopted amendments to its rules and regulations to simplify public company disclosures by eliminating duplicative, outdated or overlapping requirements. Most of the changes are highly technical, and in many cases SEC rules will still require substantially the same disclosure, although perhaps in a new location. Some of the minor but helpful changes for most companies include:
- in the company’s description of its business, eliminating the disclosure of research and development expenses, segment financial information and financial information by geographic area
- for most issuers whose common equity is traded on an established market, eliminating the requirement to provide high and low sale or bid price information and requiring instead disclosure of the company’s trading symbol
- eliminating the exhibit showing the computation of earnings per share
- eliminating the disclosure of the ratio of earnings to fixed charges and the ratio of earnings to fixed charges and preferential dividends
- eliminating the disclosure of the amount and frequency of dividends under Item 201(c)(1) of Regulation S-K
- eliminating references to the SEC’s Public Reference Room and requiring instead disclosure of the company’s website address
In response to comments, the SEC deferred action on some of its proposals and referred other proposals to the FASB for consideration, so additional simplifications may be on the horizon.