Thursday, November 5, 2009

SEC Calls for Less Words, More Substance in Financial Reporting

The SEC has called for corporations to stop providing thousands of pages of mind numbing needless boiler plate information in financial reports.

In recent speeches the SEC seemed to admit to some culpability in the excessive disclosures by stating that it is looking at its rules to determine whether companies are being asked to provide the right information.

The SEC complained about companies that provide laundry lists of risks they may face in dense lengthy reports containing impenetrable legalistic language.

One staffer said that quality of analysis is not measured by the length.

The SEC has pushed for plain language reporting for years. Litigation-shy companies have not been able to simplify reporting in the way the SEC desires.

In 2008, the SEC adopted rules for mutual funds to make their prospectuses easier for investors to read, understand and access.

The agency has also convened panels to make MD&A more accessible to unsophisticated investors.

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