The Securities and Exchange Commission has extended the filing periods covered by its previously announced conditional reporting relief for certain public company filing obligations under the federal securities laws, and is also extending regulatory relief previously provided to funds and investment advisers whose operations may be affected by COVID-19.
“Health and safety continue to be our first priority,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “These actions provide temporary, targeted relief to issuers, investment funds and investment advisers affected by COVID-19. At the same time, we encourage public companies to provide current and forward-looking information to their investors and, in these uncertain times, companies are reminded that they can take steps to avail themselves of the safe harbor in Section 21E of the Exchange Act for forward-looking statements.”
To address potential compliance issues, the SEC provided public companies with a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports that would otherwise have been due between March 1 and July 1, 2020. Companies must provide a summary of why the relief is needed in their particular circumstances for each periodic report that is delayed.
The SEC also issued orders that would provide certain investment funds and investment advisers with additional time to holding in-person board meetings and meeting certain filing and delivery requirements, as applicable.
In addition, the SEC’s division of corporation finance has been monitoring how companies are reporting the effects and risks of COVID-19 on their businesses, financial condition, and results of operations and is providing the guidance as companies prepare disclosure documents during this uncertain time.
The guidance encourages timely reporting while recognizing that it may be difficult to assess or predict the broad effects of COVID-19 on industries or individual companies.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has further postponed all in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings until May 31, 2020. FINRA said that it will contact participants to reschedule or discuss remote scheduling options, however, the decision does not affect other case deadlines. All case deadlines will continue to apply unless the parties jointly agree otherwise.