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Higgins Director, Division of Corporation Finance April 11, Introduction Thank you, Cathy [Dixon], for your kind introduction and for inviting me to speak to you today.
I appreciate the opportunity to share my views on a hot topic — our disclosure regime and how we can make it more effective. Before I begin, I need to provide the standard disclaimer that my remarks are my own views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission or any of my colleagues on the staff of the Commission.
His successor, John White, took up the torch by challenging the Division to be vigilant in continuing to improve our disclosure system and the process, including the focus of our comments and new areas of disclosure that we recommend.
Alan Beller once said that each Director stands on the shoulders of those that came before him or her, and I am the beneficiary of their legacy.
Our effort to improve Why has disclosure increased substantially disclosure system today is, in large part, a continuation of the work that my predecessors started many years ago, and I would like to acknowledge their invaluable contributions on this important subject.
And I would be hard-pressed to find a better group with whom to start our current discussion about the ways to improve disclosure than the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee of the American Bar Association. This group knows disclosure and is vocal about it.
In addition to providing thoughtful comments over the years on many of our rules, many of you also spend countless hours analyzing complex disclosure issues and working with your clients to draft their public disclosures.
So, as I share my thoughts about how the Division is reviewing the disclosure rules and our practices, I want to encourage every person in this room to join the team effort to make disclosure more effective.
What is our plan? In addition to serving as a comprehensive source for the regulatory history of Regulation S-K, the report identifies specific areas that the staff believes could benefit from further review. Our goal is to review specific sections of Regulation S-K and S-X to determine if the requirements can be updated to reduce the costs and burdens on companies while continuing to provide material information and eliminate duplicative disclosures.
At the same time, while always mindful of the costs and burdens of our regulation, we will ask whether there is information that is not part of our current requirements but that ought to be.
While looking for ways that we can streamline our disclosure requirements is an important element of our review, reducing the volume of disclosures is not the sole end game.
You may be surprised to learn that there are many investors who have expressed an appetite for more information, not less.
If we identify potential gaps in disclosure or opportunities to increase the transparency of information, we may very well recommend new disclosure requirements. A successful outcome for this project will require a team effort.
A key component of our plan will include considerable public outreach to participants, and this process has already begun.
We are launching a spotlight page on sec. We are particularly interested in learning what information investors find most useful.
As a few examples, we are considering questions such as whether there is information that we require companies to include in their filings that those investors routinely get elsewhere.Franchising is based on a marketing concept which can be adopted by an organization as a strategy for business expansion.
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One of the more noticeable effects of full disclosure would be increased pressure on analysts. With more information made public as it occurs, much of the attraction of whisper numbers would vanish.
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