In a meeting held this morning, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that companies can use blogs and websites rather than paid newswires to meet fair disclosure requirements.
The SEC has not yet published their guidence on this matter – expect a number of conditions to apply when that arrives in a few days time – but this is huge news for proponents of direct disclosure from the company website rather than via intermediaries.
Chairman Cox indicated 4 parts the interpretive guidance would cover:
- it would clarify how information posted to a company website can be considered ‘public’ under RegFD.
- clarifies the liability for certain types of electronic disclosure; how to provide access to historical/archived data; guidence on link to third party sites without having to ‘adopt’ the content there for liability purposes; appropriate use of summary information.
- info posted on company websites would not generally be subject to the rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act related to a company’s disclosure rules and procedures.
- clarification that in consideration of the dynamic nature of websites, information need not be presented in a ‘printable’ format unless required by other specific rules
It looks like a social media press releases like the Digital Snippets platform could become a powerful tool, not just for the PR or marketing departments, but for the Investor Relations department as well.