As our clients and friends know, each year Mintz provides an analysis of the regulatory developments that impact public companies as they prepare for their fiscal year-end filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and their annual shareholder meetings. This advisory discusses key considerations to keep in mind as you embark upon the year-end reporting process in 2021.
Everyone well knows that 2020 was a year unlike any other. COVID-19 created disruption and challenges for publicly traded companies across industries on an unprecedented scale, and during the spring of 2020, the SEC and the national stock exchanges quickly implemented a variety of accommodations for those issuers to try to address those challenges where possible. Most companies continue to feel the effects of the pandemic at some level, including altered levels of activity due to quarantines, travel restrictions, employee health concerns, and otherwise, and those effects will certainly need to be addressed in 2021 10-K reports. In addition, in 2020 many public companies began to take more deliberate steps to respond to and address social justice and issues of diversity and inclusion, including through heightened ESG (environmental, social and governance) disclosures. While it is too soon to say whether and how the SEC under a Biden Administration will address increasing investor and stakeholder demands for more regulatory focus on ESG matters, it is clear that the time has come for companies to incorporate ESG concepts as part of their ongoing board conversations and their routine disclosure practices. Mintz has been an active participant in the ESG movement for some time, and this past year established an ESG Practice to work with clients on these important issues.
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