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As part of the Securities and Exchange Commission response to the bankruptcy of Enron Corp., the regulatory agency’s commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to consider two new rules that would require faster and broader corporate disclosure from companies. One of them would accelerate the filing of quarterly and annual reports, making them due within 30 days of the end of every quarter. Currently they must be filed with 45 days. Annual reports would be due within 60 days of the end of the year, instead of the current 90-day time frame. The rule would only apply to U.S.-based companies that have had to file reports for at least 12 months and have previously filed at least one annual report. Another possible amendment could be made regarding the requirement that such reports must be filed by companies with a public float of at least $75 million, the SEC said. The other proposed rule would require companies to file Form 8-K reports detailing certain insider purchases and sales of company stock conducted by directors and officers, as well as any corporate loans made to them using company stock as collateral. Any such insider transactions and loan arrangements worth $100,000 or more would, under the proposal, be reported within two business days. Transactions of less value would have to be reported on the second business day of the following week. The two proposed rule changes would be put out for a 30-day and 60-day comment period, respectively, before the commissioners formally vote on the rule proposals. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt applauded the rule proposals, saying at a public hearing Thursday that “they are going to result in material improvements for our disclosure process.” The two rules are only part of a larger effort by the SEC to require more corporate disclosure, Alan Beller, the regulator’s corporate finance director, said Thursday. Other forthcoming rule proposals include expanding the list of significant events requiring current disclosure on Form 8-K and requiring disclosure of critical accounting policies in the management discussion and analysis section of annual reports, Beller said. Copyright (c)2002 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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