The SEC, on June 1, 2016, adopted an Interim Final Rule and Request for Comment to implement the Form 10-K summary provisions of The FAST Act. Passed earlier this year, the FAST Act contains a number of SEC reporting requirements, many of which the SEC has already implemented.
The Interim Final rule provides that a company may, at its option, include a summary in its Form 10-K. Each item in the summary must include a cross-reference by hyperlink to the material contained in the company’s Form 10-K to which the item relates.
The summary is a new Item 16 in Form 10-K:
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary.
Registrants may, at their option, include a summary of information required by this form, but only if each item in the summary is presented fairly and accurately and includes a hyperlink to the material contained in this form to which such item relates, including to materials contained in any exhibits filed with the form.
Instruction: The summary shall refer only to Form 10-K disclosure that is included in the form at the time it is filed. A registrant need not update the summary to reflect information required by Part III of Form 10-K that the registrant incorporates by reference from a proxy or information statement filed after the Form 10-K, but must state in the summary that the summary does not include Part III information because that information will be incorporated by reference from a later filed proxy or information statement involving the election of directors.
While perhaps not particularly dramatic, this is a nice step towards making Form 10-K a better communication tool, which is of course a big part of the disclosure effectiveness activities of the SEC. We could even debate whether such a rule is necessary as some companies, GE in particular, already provides such a summary.
You can read the Interim Final Rule and request for comment here.
And, if you have not read it recently, Carol and George, your bloggers, suggest taking a look here at the GE Form 10-K. You will find it interesting and the summary is on page 217.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!