8-K Blackout Disclosure Plan Put on Hold

March 28, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said companies should continue disclosing retirement plan blackout period information in their quarterly reports for the time being.

The notice puts on hold plans approved in January requiring companies to provide a notice to the public about said blackout periods.   Under the approved plan, retirement plan blackout information was intended to be disclosed by companies in a new section in Form 8-Ks, also referred to as a “current report,” according to a Dow Jones report.  

However, a statement issued by the Commission put the brakes on those plans because, “necessary programming to add (the pension-fund item to Form 8-K) is not yet complete.”   Therefore, companies should continue to file the disclosure in quarterly reports until the SEC announces the necessary updates to Form 8-K are ready, the agency said. No timetable was provided.

8-K Review

>The Form 8-K is used to report the occurrence of any material events or corporate changes which are of importance to investors or security holders and previously have not been reported by the company. It is intended to provide more current information on certain specified events than would quarterly and annual reports.

The most recent rule was part of a series of administrative moves by the SEC, putting into effect a law Congress enacted last summer to combat corporate fraud and restore shaken public confidence in the integrity of corporate America.   These changes were spurred after the public downfall of Enron Corp, in which employees were blocked from selling company stock during a blackout period.