Corp Fin Issues “LIBOR Transition Risks” Statement
LIBOR is going away in 2021 – and the SEC Staff is reiterating that companies should prepare – and adequately disclose the associated risks. Last week, Corp Fin issued a joint statement with the Division of Investment Management, Division of Trading & Markets and Office of the Chief Accountant to say that companies should identify their exposure under contracts that extend past 2021 and consider whether future contracts should use an alternative rate. Corp Fin’s portion of the statement also says:
As companies consider the questions in the section above entitled “Managing the Transition from LIBOR” and address the risks presented by LIBOR’s expected discontinuation, it is important to keep investors informed about the progress toward risk identification and mitigation, and the anticipated impact on the company, if material. In deciding what disclosures are relevant and appropriate, CF encourages companies to consider the following guidance.
The evaluation and mitigation of risks related to the expected discontinuation of LIBOR may span several reporting periods. Consider disclosing the status of company efforts to date and the significant matters yet to be addressed.
When a company has identified a material exposure to LIBOR but does not yet know or cannot yet reasonably estimate the expected impact, consider disclosing that fact.
Disclosures that allow investors to see this issue through the eyes of management are likely to be the most useful for investors. This may entail sharing information used by management and the board in assessing and monitoring how transitioning from LIBOR to an alternative reference rate may affect the company. This could include qualitative disclosures and, when material, quantitative disclosures, such as the notional value of contracts referencing LIBOR and extending past 2021.
At this stage in the transition away from LIBOR, we note that companies most frequently providing LIBOR transition disclosure are in the real estate, banking, and insurance industries. We also note that, based on our reviews to date, the larger the company, the more likely it is to disclose risks related to LIBOR’s expected discontinuation. However, for every contract held by one of these companies providing disclosure, there is a counterparty that may not yet be aware of the risks it faces or the actions needed to mitigate those risks. We therefore encourage every company, if it has not already done so, to begin planning for this important transition.
-Liz Dunshee, TheCorporateCounsel.net July 16, 2019
Want to keep reading?
Great. Enter your email address and gain instant access to this article