Internet Startups May Face Stiffer Reporting Rules

A panel organized by Jeffrey E. Garten, Dean of the Yale School of Management, is hoping to encourage Internet startup companies to provide information that will help investors better evaluate the companies. It is hoped that new companies will embrace the guidelines that the panel creates. In lieu of total acceptance, the panel may request the SEC to enforce new disclosure regulations or at least provide incentives for companies to disclose additional information.

The panel is considering requesting that startups provide the following types of information:

  • Third-party verification of non-audited financial data
  • Information discussed in conference calls with analysts
  • More detailed information about business plans
  • Past successes and failures of their managers
  • Information about company-owned intangibles
  • The amount of money being spent on employee training
  • The cost of attracting and maintaining a customer base

The goals of the additional disclosure of information are to level the playing field between everyday investors and professionals, and to provide better information that can help investors determine the value of a company. The panel's guidelines are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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