SEC Offers Disclosure Filing ‘Relief’ Due to Coronavirus
In another sign of growing concern about the spread of the coronavirus disease in the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that it is providing “conditional regulatory relief” for certain publicly traded companies’ filing obligations.
To qualify for the extension, companies must convey through a current report a summary of why the relief is needed in their particular circumstances, the SEC said. It also said it may extend the filing delay beyond 45 days “as circumstances warrant.”
“The health and safety of all participants in our markets is of paramount importance,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a prepared statement. “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.”
In a nod to investors, he also reminded companies of their responsibility to offer “insight…to the fullest extent practicable” into their assessment of material risks to their business and operations arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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.”
Visa on Monday warned that revenue this quarter is likely to fall below its previous forecast due to lower travel-related spending and cross-border business. “Based on trends through the end of February, and assuming some continuing deterioration in March, Visa expects second fiscal quarter net revenue growth to be approximately 2.5-3.5 percentage points lower than the outlook we shared on our January 30, 2020 earnings call,” it said in a filing on Monday.
In a separate notice, the SEC’s Division of Investment Management issued a staff statement assuring mutual fund companies it will not take enforcement actions for violations of certain in-person board voting requirements through June 15.