October 1, 2004
October 1, 2004
Mr. Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549
Re: Temporary Postponement of the
Final Phase-In Period For Acceleration
of Periodic Report Filing Dates File No. S7-32-04
Dear Mr. Katz:
Protective Life Corporation Protective is a holding company whose subsidiaries provide financial services through the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products. Protective has a market capitalization of approximately 2.7 billion and is thus subject to the accelerated filing dates. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Securities and Exchange Commissions the Commission Proposed Rule, Temporary Postponement of the Final Phase-In Period for Acceleration of Periodic Report Filing Dates.
We support the Commissions proposal to postpone the final phase-in period of the accelerated filing deadlines for both annual and quarterly reports. We believe that a postponed phase-in period would benefit investors by helping to ensure the quality and accuracy of the information included in companies quarterly and annual reports. Additionally, we strongly encourage the Commission to consider making the postponement of the final phase-in period permanent. We recognize that there is an inherent conflict between the timeliness of quarterly and annual reports and the quality and accuracy of the information included in the reports. We believe that the current 75 day reporting deadline for annual reports and 40 day reporting deadline for quarterly reports provide an appropriate balance between timeliness and data quality.
The environment surrounding financial reporting has changed significantly since the rules to accelerate the filing of periodic reports were adopted in. First, the Commission has published additional interpretive guidance intended to enhance the disclosures in managements discussion and analysis to make the information more meaningful to investors and other users. Second, the role of the audit committee in overseeing and monitoring the financial reporting process has been expanded. Third, as the Commission points out, beginning this year, companies must comply with new requirements regarding internal control over financial reporting. Also, information required for current reports on Form 8-K has been significantly expanded, which serves to make additional information available to investors on a more timely basis.
Investors need information that is clear, accurate and timely. Therefore, an appropriate balance between speed and quality must be maintained. The business activities of companies, including Protective, continue to become more complex and the financial reporting and internal control requirements have increased as a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It is important that companies have adequate time to evaluate their results of operations and to prepare accurate financial statements and meaningful analysis, that audit committees have adequate time to be actively involved in the oversight of the financial reporting process and that independent auditors have adequate time to complete their audit procedures.
In conclusion, we support the proposal to postpone further acceleration of periodic report filing dates. However, we also encourage the Commission to consider making the postponement permanent.
Steven G. Walker
Senior Vice President, Controller
and Chief Accounting Officer
Charles D. Evers, Jr.