Return to Work Puts Spotlight on Disclosure, SEC’s Clayton Says

May 4, 2020, 10:39 PM

With U.S. companies preparing to get back to work, workforce and supply chain disclosures are critical areas for investors who want to understand how businesses are doing, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said Monday.

Investors are focused on how supply chains have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and how companies manage the health and safety of their workers and customers as companies report their first quarter results, Clayton said during a meeting of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee.

“Those questions are the type of questions currently being discussed in America’s board rooms and strategy meetings,” he said, adding that it’s the kind of information that companies should be disclosing.

  • Members of the advisory group urged the commission to provide more guidance for companies. They want more detailed disclosures about hiring and layoffs, safety measures, protective equipment, training, even plans for contact tracing and whether they will offer paid sick leave.
  • “We’ve got a brutal and vivid example of why human capital management reporting is so important,“ said Anne Simpson, a director with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. “We want to encourage reporting, but reporting isn’t going to really help unless we have standards.”

  • Clayton also urged filers to be consistent in how they describe their need for financial assistance. “You can’t be saying you don’t need assistance on one hand when you are begging for assistance in another.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at aiacone@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; David Jolly at djolly@bloombergtax.com

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