The Securities and Exchange Commission will give some companies more time to comply with certain publicly traded company filing obligations due to the worldwide coronavirus threat.
The impacts of the coronavirus could make it difficult for certain companies that are required to provide information to trading markets, shareholders, and the SEC, the agency said. These companies may include U.S. companies located in the affected areas, as well as companies with operations in those regions.
To address potential compliance issues, the SEC issued an order that, subject to certain conditions, provides publicly traded companies with an additional 45 days to file certain disclosure reports that would otherwise have been due between March 1 and April 30, 2020.
“The health and safety of all participants in our markets is of paramount importance,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “While timely public filing of Exchange Act reports is a cornerstone of well-functioning markets, we recognize that this situation may prevent certain issuers from compiling these reports within required timeframes.”
Among other conditions, companies must convey through a current report a summary of why the relief is needed in their particular circumstances. The commission may extend the time period for the relief, with any additional conditions it deems appropriate, or provide additional relief as circumstances warrant, the news release said.
Companies and their representatives are encouraged to contact SEC staff with questions or matters of particular concern.
“We also remind all companies to provide investors with insight regarding their assessment of, and plans for addressing, material risks to their business and operations resulting from the coronavirus to the fullest extent practicable to keep investors and markets informed of material developments,” Clayton added.
“How companies plan and respond to the events as they unfold can be material to an investment decision, and I urge companies to work with their audit committees and auditors to ensure that their financial reporting, auditing and review processes are as robust as practicable in light of the circumstances in meeting the applicable requirements.
“Companies providing forward-looking information in an effort to keep investors informed about material developments, including known trends or uncertainties regarding coronavirus, can take steps to avail themselves of the safe harbor in Section 21E of the Exchange Act for forward-looking statements.”