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SEC Adopts Amendments to Improve Financial Disclosures about Acquisitions and Dispositions of Businesses

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Washington, D.C.–(Newsfile Corp. – May 21, 2020) – The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has voted to adopt amendments to its rules and forms to improve for investors the financial information about acquired or disposed businesses, facilitate more timely access to capital, and reduce the complexity and costs to prepare the disclosure. The amendments will update our rules which have not been comprehensively addressed since their adoption, some over 30 years ago.

“This action, which is designed to enhance the quality of information that investors receive while eliminating unnecessary costs and burdens, will benefit investors, registrants and the market more generally,” said Chairman Jay Clayton. “I want to thank the staff for their outstanding efforts to bring their years of experience to modernizing these rules.”

The amendments to the rules and forms are intended to assist registrants in making more meaningful determinations of whether a subsidiary or an acquired or disposed business is significant, and improve the financial disclosure requirements applicable to acquisitions and dispositions of businesses, including real estate operations and investment companies.

The amendments will be effective on Jan. 1, 2021, but voluntary compliance will be permitted in advance of the effective date.

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FACT SHEET

Amendments to Financial Disclosures About Acquired and Disposed Businesses

May 21, 2020

Action

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has adopted amendments to the financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-X for acquisitions and dispositions of businesses, including real estate operations, in Rules 3-05, 3-14, 8-04, 8-05, 8-06, and Article 11, as well as in other related rules and forms.  In conjunction with these changes, the Commission also amended the significance tests in the “significant subsidiary” definition in Rule 1-02(w), Securities Act Rule 405, and Exchange Act Rule 12b-2 to improve their application and to assist registrants in making more meaningful determinations of whether a subsidiary or an acquired or disposed business is significant.  In addition, to address the unique attributes of investment companies and business development companies, the Commission adopted new requirements regarding fund acquisitions specific to registered investment companies and business development companies.

Background

When a registrant acquires a significant business, other than a real estate operation, Rule 3-05 of Regulation S-X generally requires a registrant to provide separate audited annual and unaudited interim pre-acquisition financial statements of that business.  The number of years of financial information that must be provided depends on the relative significance of the acquisition to the registrant.  Similarly, Rule 3-14 of Regulation S-X addresses the unique nature of real estate operations and requires a registrant that has acquired a significant real estate operation to file financial statements with respect to such acquired operation.

Article 11 of Regulation S-X also requires registrants to file unaudited pro forma financial information relating to the acquisition or disposition.  Pro forma financial information typically includes a pro forma balance sheet and pro forma income statements based on the historical financial statements of the registrant and the acquired or disposed business, including adjustments to show how the acquisition or disposition might have affected those financial statements.

Rule 3-05 also applies to registrants that are registered investment companies and business development companies.  Investment company registrants differ from non-investment company registrants in that they principally invest for returns from capital appreciation and/or investment income, are required to recognize changes in value to their portfolio investments each reporting period, and generally do not consolidate entities they control or use equity method accounting.  Due to the nature of registered investment companies and business development companies, under the current rules it is often unclear how to apply these reporting requirements to acquired funds.

Highlights

The final amendments will, among other things:

  • update the significance tests in Rule 1-02(w), Securities Act Rule 405, and Exchange Act Rule 12b-2 by:
    • revising the investment test to compare the registrant’s investments in and advances to the acquired or disposed business to the registrant’s aggregate worldwide market value if available;
    • revising the income test by adding a revenue component;
    • expanding the use of pro forma financial information in measuring significance; and
    • conforming, to the extent applicable, the significance threshold and tests for disposed businesses to those used for acquired businesses;
  • modify and enhance the required disclosure for the aggregate effect of acquisitions for which financial statements are not required or are not yet required by eliminating historical financial statements for insignificant businesses and expanding the pro forma financial information to depict the aggregate effect in all material respects;
  • require the financial statements of the acquired business to cover no more than the two most recent fiscal years;
  • permit disclosure of financial statements that omit certain expenses for certain acquisitions of a component of an entity;
  • permit the use of, or reconciliation to, International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board in certain circumstances;
  • no longer require separate acquired business financial statements once the business has been included in the registrant’s post-acquisition financial statements for nine months or a complete fiscal year, depending on significance;
  • align Rule 3-14 with Rule 3-05 where no unique industry considerations exist;
  • clarify the application of Rule 3-14 regarding:
    • the determination of significance;
    • the need for interim income statements;
    • special provisions for blind pool offerings; and
    • the scope of the rule’s requirements;
  • amend the pro forma financial information requirements to improve the content and relevance of such information; more specifically, the revised pro forma adjustment criteria will provide for:
    • “Transaction Accounting Adjustments” reflecting only the application of required accounting to the transaction;
    • “Autonomous Entity Adjustments” reflecting the operations and financial position of the registrant as an autonomous entity if the registrant was previously part of another entity; and
    • optional “Management’s Adjustments” depicting synergies and dis-synergies of the acquisitions and dispositions for which pro forma effect is being given if, in management’s opinion, such adjustments would enhance an understanding of the pro forma effects of the transaction and certain conditions related to the basis and the form of presentation are met;
  • make corresponding changes to the smaller reporting company requirements in Article 8 of Regulation S-X, which will also apply to issuers relying on Regulation A;
  • amend the definition of “significant subsidiary” to provide a definition that is specifically tailored for investment companies; and
  • add new Rule 6-11 and amend Form N-14 to cover financial reporting for fund acquisitions by investment companies and business development companies.

What’s Next?

The amendments will be effective Jan. 1, 2021.  However, voluntary compliance with the final amendments will be permitted in advance of the effective date.

Fintech

Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space

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The BIS, along with seven leading central banks and a cohort of private financial firms, has embarked on an ambitious venture known as Project Agorá.

Named after the Greek word for “marketplace,” this initiative stands at the forefront of exploring the potential of tokenisation to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the monetary system worldwide.

Central to this pioneering project are the Bank of France (on behalf of the Eurosystem), the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the Bank of Mexico, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These institutions have joined forces under the banner of Project Agorá, in partnership with an extensive assembly of private financial entities convened by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

At the heart of Project Agorá is the pursuit of integrating tokenised commercial bank deposits with tokenised wholesale central bank money within a unified, public-private programmable financial platform. By harnessing the advanced capabilities of smart contracts and programmability, the project aspires to unlock new transactional possibilities that were previously infeasible or impractical, thereby fostering novel opportunities that could benefit businesses and consumers alike.

The collaborative effort seeks to address and surmount a variety of structural inefficiencies that currently plague cross-border payments. These challenges include disparate legal, regulatory, and technical standards; varying operating hours and time zones; and the heightened complexity associated with conducting financial integrity checks (such as anti-money laundering and customer verification procedures), which are often redundantly executed across multiple stages of a single transaction due to the involvement of several intermediaries.

As a beacon of experimental and exploratory projects, the BIS Innovation Hub is committed to delivering public goods to the global central banking community through initiatives like Project Agorá. In line with this mission, the BIS will soon issue a call for expressions of interest from private financial institutions eager to contribute to this ground-breaking project. The IIF will facilitate the involvement of private sector participants, extending an invitation to regulated financial institutions representing each of the seven aforementioned currencies to partake in this transformative endeavour.

Source: fintech.globa

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TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud

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TD Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Google Cloud as it looks to streamline the development and deployment of new products and services.

The deal will see the Canadian banking group integrate the vendor’s cloud services into a wider portion of its technology solutions portfolio, a move which TD expects will enable it “to respond quickly to changing customer expectations by rolling out new features, updates, or entirely new financial products at an accelerated pace”.

This marks an expansion of the already established relationship between TD Bank and Google Cloud after the group previously adopted the vendor’s Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for TD Securities Automated Trading (TDSAT), the Chicago-based subsidiary of its investment banking unit, TD Securities.

TDSAT uses GKE for process automation and quantitative modelling across fixed income markets, resulting in the development of a “data-driven research platform” capable of processing large research workloads in trading.

Dan Bosman, SVP and CIO of TD Securities, claims the infrastructure has so far supported TDSAT with “compute-intensive quantitative analysis” while expanding the subsidiary’s “trading volumes and portfolio size”.

TD’s new partnership with Google Cloud will see the group attempt to replicate the same level of success across its entire portfolio.

Source: fintechfutures.com

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MAS launches transformative platform to combat money laundering

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The MAS has unveiled Cosmic, an acronym for Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing Information and Cases, a new money laundering platform.

According to Business Times, launched on April 1, Cosmic stands out as the first centralised digital platform dedicated to combating money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing on a worldwide scale. This move follows the enactment of the Financial Services and Markets (Amendment) Act 2023, which, along with its subsidiary legislation, commenced on the same day to provide a solid legal foundation and safeguards for information sharing among financial institutions (FIs).

Cosmic enables participating FIs to exchange customer information when certain “red flags” indicate potential suspicious activities. The platform’s introduction is a testament to MAS’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of the financial sector, mandating participants to establish stringent policies and operational safeguards to maintain the confidentiality of the shared information. This strategic approach allows for the efficient exchange of intelligence on potential criminal activities while protecting legitimate customers.

Significantly, Cosmic was co-developed by MAS and six leading commercial banks in Singapore—OCBC, UOB, DBS, Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered—which will serve as participant FIs during its initial phase. The initiative emphasizes voluntary information sharing focused on addressing key financial crime risks within the commercial banking sector, such as the misuse of legal persons, trade finance, and proliferation financing.

Loo Siew Yee, assistant managing director for policy, payments, and financial crime at MAS, highlighted that Cosmic enhances the existing collaboration between the industry and law enforcement authorities, fortifying Singapore’s reputation as a well-regulated and trusted financial hub. Similarly, Pua Xiao Wei of Citi Singapore and Loretta Yuen of OCBC have expressed their institutions’ support for Cosmic, noting its potential to ramp up anti-money laundering efforts and its significance as a development in the banking sector’s ability to combat financial crimes efficiently. DBS’ Lam Chee Kin also praised Cosmic as a “game changer,” emphasizing the careful balance between combating financial crime and ensuring legitimate customers’ access to financial services.

Source: fintech.global

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