Rules Mandating Edgar Filing for Foreign Issuers Will Become Effective
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., October 16, 2002 -- The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission today reminded foreign issuers, their advisers and other interested persons that the rule amendments mandating EDGAR filing for foreign issuers will become effective Nov. 4, 2002. EDGAR is the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval System. The new rules require foreign private issuers and foreign governments to file most of their Securities Act and Exchange Act documents on EDGAR. A complete discussion of these rule amendments, which the SEC adopted on May 8, 2002, is contained in Release No. 33-8099, and is located on the SEC Web site at http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/33-8099.htm.
In that release, foreign issuers were encouraged to file voluntarily their securities documents on EDGAR during the nearly six-month transition period preceding the new rules' effective date. Despite this encouragement, foreign issuers have continued to file or submit most of their securities documents with the SEC on paper. For example, only 35% of the more than 2,600 Form 6-Ks submitted in August and September of 2002 were submitted via EDGAR.
The SEC staff will enforce the Nov. 4 date of effectiveness for the new EDGAR filing requirements for foreign issuers. The SEC staff will not accept any foreign issuer filing or submission in paper on or after Nov. 4 unless it meets one of the narrow exceptions that allows for a paper filing or submission. The SEC staff will return an improper paper filing or submission to the foreign issuer or other filing party, which will then be required to refile or resubmit the securities document via EDGAR.
The SEC staff would like to remind foreign issuers and other interested persons that there is an abundance of information about EDGAR, including links to the most recent version of the EDGAR Filing Manual and the EDGARLink software needed to format documents for EDGAR transmission, on the SEC's Web site located at http://www.sec.gov/info/edgar.shtml. The SEC staff is also available to answer EDGAR-related inquiries from foreign issuers. Foreign issuers with questions about the new EDGAR rules should contact Elliot Staffin, Special Counsel, Office of International Corporate Finance at (202) 942-2990. Foreign issuers with non-legal questions about the EDGAR filing process and other practical concerns should contact the Office of EDGAR and Information Analysis at (202) 942-2940.