SEC’s Disclosure Review Continues as the Sen. Warren, Chairman White Feud Endures


SEC SealAs part of its ongoing Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative, the Securities and Exchange Commission July 13 proposed amendments to update and simplify disclosure requirements “to eliminate redundant, overlapping, outdated, or superseded provisions.”

The commission took the unusual step in its July 13 proposal of also issuing a “demonstration version” of its release, showing a line-by-line comparison of what the proposed changes would look like.

Over the last several months, the agency has sought feedback on specific changes to its disclosure regime, most recently on Regulation S-K, which governs annual reports, registration statements and tender offers.  The comment deadline for the Reg S-K release is July 21.

The disclosure effectiveness review has not been without controversy.  SEC Chairman Mary Jo White has clashed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over the project, with Sen. Warren expressing concern that it will lead to fewer disclosures to the detriment of investors.

Warren and White’s rift was evident at a June Senate Banking Committee hearing, in which the two verbally sparred over the review initiative, with Warren proclaiming that she had “never been more disappointed” in the chairman.

Subsequently, Warren escalated the war of words in a July letter to White, accusing the chairman of wasting agency resources in an effort to change corporate disclosure requirements while falling behind on congressionally mandated rulemakings.  In that letter, Warren requested that White respond by Aug. 1 to a series of questions aimed at justifying the scope of the disclosure review initiative.

For more on the July 13 amendments, see the news story here.