October 9, 2008
For Immediate Release: October 7, 2008
Contact: Matt Brusch (703) 506-3574
Vienna, VA – The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), the largest association of investor relations professionals in the world, today announced its disappointment in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent decision not to require institutional investment managers to publicly disclose short sale positions of certain publicly traded securities. NIRI also announced its support of either reinstating a short-sale uptick requirement or implementing short-sale circuit breakers to enhance market stability.
NIRI supports public disclosure of the short positions in the securities of the companies affected by the SEC’s emergency order as well as the securities of all public companies. NIRI, representing the investor relations professionals of public company issuers, notes that public companies expect the same level of disclosure regarding the funds maintaining a short position in their stocks as is required of the funds that are long investors of their stocks. Investment managers are currently required to publicly file periodic reports disclosing only their long equity positions – not their short positions. NIRI sees no reasonable basis for the different long and short disclosure requirements of all institutional asset managers, including hedge funds.
Public companies currently operate in an environment of great transparency governed by federal, state and stock exchange rules and regulations. Current SEC rules generally require institutional investors to disclose share ownership positions on a quarterly basis (Form 13F), with an exception made for those that petition the SEC to delay these disclosures on the basis of confidentiality. NIRI strongly advocates for greater transparency within the investment community, favoring a reporting regime that promotes more timely and frequent long position reporting, as well as full and fair short position disclosure.
Additionally, NIRI urges the SEC to either reinstate the short-sale uptick rule (eliminated in 2007), or implement a short-sale circuit breaker rule in order to enhance market stability in times of extreme market volatility.
Jeff Morgan, president and CEO of NIRI said, “Now is the time for a comprehensive review of the disclosure process by holders of equities. As we look beyond the federal rescue plan that will hopefully return confidence and capital to the financial markets, we must begin to correct the failures of our financial regulatory system. We need a complete and thorough examination of the outdated system of reporting beneficial ownership and ensure that institutions report long or short activities on a timely basis. I find it unacceptable that I can receive my personal brokerage statement within 10 days after month-end, but investment managers require 45 days to report their holdings at the end of a quarter to the SEC. Corporate issuers have the right to know who owns, and who is shorting, their stock. Technology has come a long way since these ownership rules were established, and now is the appropriate time to revisit them in order to increase transparency and confidence across the entire system."
NIRI is the professional association of corporate officers and investor relations consultants responsible for communications among corporate management, shareholders, securities analysts and other financial publics. NIRI’s 4,400 members represent nearly 2,100 publicly held companies and $5.4 trillion in stock market capitalization. For more information, please visit www.niri.org.