| NATIONAL HARBOR
NATIONAL HARBOR Md. Oct 15 U.S. regulators
should review the federal rules governing how public companies
disclose financial data to ensure investors don't suffer from
"information overload," the top U.S. securities regulator said
"I am raising the question ... as to whether investors need
and are optimally served by the detailed and lengthy disclosures
about all of the topics that companies currently provide in the
reports they are required to prepare and file with us,"
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White said
in a speech before the National Association of Corporate
"We must continuously consider whether information overload
is occurring as rules proliferate and as we contemplate what
should and should not be required to be disclosed going
White's comments come as the SEC works to complete a study
of the financial reporting rules for all public companies to see
if changes are warranted. That regulatory regime, known as
Regulation SK, requires companies going public to register their
shares and routinely disclose financial results, material facts
about the company, as well as other information.
The study is required by a 2012 law that relaxes securities
regulations to help smaller emerging companies go public and
raise additional capital.
Although the bulk of the law is geared toward helping small
business growth, the inclusion of the study signaled that
Congress wanted the SEC to look beyond small companies and
consider the rules for all public companies.
White said Tuesday she expects the results of the study will
be made public "very soon."
She added that the study will only be the first step toward
a broader review of the reporting requirements.
Among the questions she said the SEC should ask include
"whether there are specific disclosure requirements that are
simply not necessary for investors or that investors do not
As an example, she noted that requirements for dilution
disclosure or the ratio of earnings to fixed charges may not be
as relevant today as they once were.