The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to adopt rule and form amendments to make it easier for investors and other market participants to find and access exhibits in registration statements and periodic reports that were originally provided in previous filings.
The amendments will require issuers to include a hyperlink to each exhibit in the filing’s exhibit index. Currently, someone seeking to retrieve and access an exhibit that has been incorporated by reference must review the exhibit index to determine the filing in which the exhibit is included, and then must search through the registrant’s filings to locate the relevant filing.
“As the SEC looks for new ways to modernize financial disclosures, one of the easiest things we can do is add hyperlinks that automatically direct users to additional information on our EDGAR system,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar. “We are so accustomed to clicking hyperlinks on basically every website we visit, this commonsense solution will make life simpler for a lot of people.”
The final rules will take effect on September 1, 2017.
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SEC Open Meeting
March 1, 2017
The amendments require registrants that file registration statements or reports subject to the exhibit requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, or that file Forms F-10 or 20-F, to include a hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of these filings, and to submit such registration statements and reports on EDGAR in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) format.
- Registrants will be required to include a hyperlink to each exhibit identified in the exhibit index, unless the exhibit is filed in paper pursuant to a temporary or continuing hardship exemption under Rules 201 or 202 of Regulation S-T, or pursuant to Rule 311 of Regulation S-T. This requirement will apply to the forms for which exhibits are required under Item 601 of Regulation S-K as well as Forms F-10 and 20-F. The final rules, however, will exclude exhibits that are filed with Form ABS-EE and exhibits filed in the eXtensive Business Reporting language (XBRL).
- Registrants will be required to file in HTML format the registration statements and reports subject to the exhibit filing requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, as well as Forms F-10 and 20-F, because the text-based American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format cannot support functional hyperlinks. While the affected registration statements and reports will be required to be filed in HTML, registrants may continue to file in ASCII any schedules or forms that are not subject to the exhibit filing requirements under Item 601, such as proxy statements, or other documents included with a filing, such as an exhibit.
The final rules will provide a longer compliance date for non-accelerated filers and smaller reporting companies and for certain filings on Form 10-D. Under the final rules:
- Non-accelerated filers and smaller reporting companies that submit filings in ASCII will not have to comply with the final rules until September 1, 2018.
- The compliance date for any Form 10-D filing that will require a hyperlink to an exhibit filed with Form ABS-EE will be delayed until SEC staff completes programming changes to EDGAR that will allow registrants to include the Form 10-D and Form ABS-EE in a single submission so that the required exhibit hyperlinks can be created at the time the Form 10-D is filed. The SEC will publish a notice in the Federal Register and on the SEC website announcing the compliance date for those Form 10-D filings.