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March 23, 2020

FCA asks firms to delay results announcements due to Covid-19

By Patrick Brusnahan

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has written to companies planning to release results and asked them to delay the publications.

All firms planning to release results in the next few days have been recommended to observe a moratorium for at least two weeks.

In a statement, the FCA said: “Investors in capital markets rely on trustworthy information on the companies whose instruments they trade. The unprecedented events of the last couple of weeks mean that the basis on which companies are reporting and planning is changing rapidly. It is important that due consideration is given by companies to these events in preparing their disclosures. Observing timetables set before this crisis arose may not give companies the necessary time to do this.”

Furthermore, this has been encourage due to a number of practical challenges brought on by Covid-19 or coronavirus. The FCA stated that releasing financial statements in advance of the full audited results is adding unnecessary pressure.

In addition, the FCA noted that the practice of issuing preliminary financial statements is common, but by no means required by either the Listing Rules or the Transparency Directive.

The statement continued: “The requirement is that companies publish full audited financial statements within four months of the financial year end. The FCA further notes that it is common to publish preliminary financial statements considerably earlier than the four months permitted for the filing of full financial statements.

“The FCA confirms it in talks with the Financial Reporting Council and the PRA about a package of measures aimed at ensuring companies take the necessary time in these uncertain times to prepare appropriate disclosures and address current practical challenges and the three bodies intend to announce details shortly.

“The FCA reminds companies that the Market Abuse Regulation remains in full force and listed companies are still required to announce inside information to the market as soon as possible unless a valid reason to delay disclosure under the regulation exists.”

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