Yesterday, the SEC adopted amendments to the definitions of “Accelerated Filer” and “Large Accelerated Filer.” The most notable result of this action is that smaller reporting companies with less than $100 million in revenues will no longer have to provide auditor attestations of their Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 reports. This excerpt from the SEC’s press release summarizing the changes says that the amendments will:
– Exclude from the accelerated and large accelerated filer definitions an issuer that is eligible to be a smaller reporting company and had annual revenues of less than $100 million in the most recent fiscal year for which audited financial statements are available. Business development companies will be excluded in analogous circumstances;
– Increase the transition thresholds for an accelerated and a large accelerated filer becoming a non-accelerated filer from $50 million to $60 million and for exiting large accelerated filer status from $500 million to $560 million;
– Add a revenue test to the transition thresholds for exiting both accelerated and large accelerated filer status; and
– Add a check box to the cover pages of annual reports on Forms 10-K, 20-F, and 40-F to indicate whether an ICFR auditor attestation is included in the filing.
The need for relief from SOX 404 was a controversial topic, and as usual these days, the vote was along partisan lines. Republican Chair Jay Clayton and Commissioner Hester Peirce submitted statements in support of the rule, while Democratic Commissioner Allison Herren Lee filed a statement in dissent.
Two commissioners also provided some colorful social media commentary on the vote. Allison Lee tweeted: “There must be a limit to the number of times we can credibly assert to investors that we act in their best interests by making policy choices they directly oppose.” For some reason, Hester Peirce tweeted a photo of a cherry cobbler with “404” baked into it (your guess is as good as mine, folks).
-John Jenkins, TheCorporateCounsel.net March 13, 2020
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