SEC Proposal Would Simplify Disclosure Requirements

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing to eliminate disclosures that have been made unnecessary by changes in other disclosure requirements, US GAAP, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and technology.

The commission wants to do away with “redundant, overlapping, outdated, or superseded” provisions, and is asking for comments on requirements that overlap with US GAAP to figure out if they should be retained, changed, eliminated, or sent on to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for inclusion in US GAAP.

“The proposed amendments address outdated and redundant disclosure requirements while continuing to require companies to provide investors with what they need to make informed decisions,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a prepared statement. “We are keenly interested in investors’ views on all aspects of the proposal and look forward to receiving their input as we continue to consider changes and enhancements to our disclosure requirements.”

The public comment period will be open for 60 days following publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.

The proposal addresses the following four concerns:

1. Disclosures that duplicate what’s already required in US GAAP, IFRS, and other SEC requirements, and whether to delete them.

2. Disclosures that overlap and are related to others – but aren’t identical – in US GAAP, IFRS, or SEC requirements. The SEC will consider whether to delete its requirements that are similar to or included in other disclosures, or that require incremental disclosure to overlapping disclosure requirements and may not be helpful to investors; merge SEC disclosure requirements that overlap with but require information incremental to the commission’s other disclosure requirements; and seek comment on commission disclosures that overlap with but require information incremental to US GAAP to determine whether to keep, modify, or eliminate them, or send them to the FASB for possible inclusion in US GAAP.

3. Disclosures that have been made obsolete by time, technology, or business and regulatory changes. The SEC will consider whether to amend them or propose additional information so that investors aren’t burdened or misinformed.

4. Disclosures that are inconsistent with current legislation, updated SEC disclosure requirements, or updated US GAAP. The SEC will determine whether to amend the disclosures so they reflect updated requirements.

Instructions on how to submit comments on the proposal can be found here.

About Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.

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