New SEC Rules Are a Sign of the Times

According to a report today in the Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission is set to issue new disclosure rules for companies looking to reduce debt levels at the end of each quarter simply for reporting purposes. Inquiries into the use of repurchase agreements by financial services companies have revealed the widespread practice of reducing debt levels artificially.  Here is what the WSJ has discovered.

Federal regulators are poised to propose new disclosure rules targeting “window dressing,” a practice undertaken by some large banks to temporarily lower their debt levels before reporting finances to the public.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is scheduled to take up the matter at a meeting Friday and is expected to issue proposals for public comment. The action follows a Wall Street Journal investigation into the practice, which isn’t illegal but masks banks’ true levels of borrowing and risk-taking.

A Journal analysis of financial data from 18 large banks known as primary dealers showed that as a group, they have consistently lowered debt at the end of each of the past six quarters, reducing it on average by 42% from quarterly peaks.

New rules like these are certainly a sign of the times and companies must be prepared for more to come.  To learn how Wheelhouse Advisors can help you prepare, visit www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

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About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

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