Sebi moots consolidated annual info filing by cos

Written by Press Trust of India | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 19 2014, 10:01am hrs
To help investors get accurate and comprehensive information about companies, regulator Sebi today proposed that listed firms file an annual information memorandum, on the lines of practices followed in the US and other large markets.

The memorandum, which is proposed to be filed by the top 200 companies by market capitalisation from the next financial year beginning April 1 and by other firms from April 1, 2015, can also be used as a reference document while raising funds.

The annual information memorandum (AIM) would include details of a company, its business description, a history of major events, risk factors, management and promoter information and consolidated financial statements.

Sebi has given time till March 9 for public comments on the proposed document, which would save investors from sifting through various individual disclosures made by the company over time.

Sebi has proposed that the document consolidate all regulatory disclosures made by listed companies and be updated within 135 days from the end of a financial year.

For companies that plan to list on the stock exchanges, the requirement for filing an AIM would commence with their initial public offers (IPOs).

Disclosures made by companies at the IPO stage are proposed to be updated on an annual basis to ensure that the latest information is available in the public domain.

Sebi said AIM filings would lower the quantum of details needed in company annual reports, limiting them to disclosures required under the Companies Act.

This would help in "significantly reducing disclosures required in annual report and consequently reducing costs for the listed companies as AIM will be required to be filed in electronic format," Sebi said.

As per the regulator, AIM may be disseminated by uploading it on the company's website and simultaneously filing it with the stock exchanges.

The AIM should be approved by the board of directors before it is disseminated, the regulator proposed. Sebi noted that in India, companies make comprehensive disclosures when filing offer documents for IPOs, which are made in the primary market.

However, such details are "available in fragments and there is no single document which contains all subsequent updates of the company at one place."

Investors in the secondary market, where securities are traded, should also be able to access the desired information with similar ease as those in the primary market, it said.

Currently, "investors in secondary market have to sift through various individual disclosures made over time to aggregate the information for investment decision making," the regulator said in the discussion paper.