Trump asks SEC to study six-month reporting system for public firms

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President Donald Trump on Friday said he had instructed the US Securities and Exchanges Commission to investigate the abolition of quarterly financial reporting for US companies.

"I asked [the leaders] what it is that would make business (jobs) even better in the U.S.", Trump tweeted.

The SEC has been reluctant to make changes in quarterly reporting, which has always been a cornerstone of U.S. capital markets.

The chief executive officer who urged Trump to look into six-month reporting is PepsiCo Inc.'s Indra Nooyi, the president told reporters in Washington after sending his tweet. "So we're looking at that very very curiously, we're looking at twice a year instead of four times a year".

But moving away from reporting earnings every three months would be a much more dramatic change that would nearly certainly trigger resistance from shareholders who want transparency from the companies they invest in.

There are also tremendous expenses associated with preparing quarterly and annual reports.

The UK, for example, does not require companies to report earnings every quarter, though more than 90% of listed firms still do, according to MarketWatch. Juicing numbers impresses investors, but it can force companies to miss out on long term trends.

Europe has backed away from requiring companies to file quarterly reports.

The SEC has already been working on the issue. The SEC is the regulatory arm of the SEA, and since its formation, quarterly earnings reports have been mandatory.

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"The president has highlighted a key consideration for American companies and, importantly, American investors and their families - encouraging long-term investment in our country", Clayton said.

Even former President Barack Obama spoke out against the short-term nature of the reporting requirements in 2015.

"It is not the fact that you report quarterly that is the problem; it's a bad management team", he said.

"This is not something he can change with an executive order", he added. She pointed out that it had the support of many CEOs, including the Business Roundtable, an association of leading CEOs.

Nooyi confirmed on Friday she had made suggestions on how to encourage companies to have a more long-term view.

Studies on the subject are mixed.

Quarterly reporting by public companies has always been a cornerstone of US capital markets, with Wall Street analysts known for making closely monitored recommendations on buying or selling stock. What is clear is that investors are more reluctant to invest with companies when they have less information on their performance. Others said that the prospect of fewer financial reports could exacerbate price swings around earnings or fuel insider trading.

Quarterly reports are "early warning signs of other bigger problems", Elson said.

Half-yearly reporting would mark a huge change in USA disclosure requirements and put them in line with European Union and United Kingdom rules. "As an investor, I find it troubling". In 1996, nearly 950 companies went public, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. "[This is especially true] for companies in the consumer space - a lot can happen in six months". "My comments were made in that broader context, and included a suggestion to explore the harmonisation of the European system and the USA system of financial reporting".

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