The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Thursday relaxed the deadlines for regulatory filings, such as disclosure of financial results and shareholding pattern.
“Developments arising due to the spread of the virus warrant the need for temporary relaxations in compliance requirements for listed entities,” Sebi said.
The deadlines to file the March quarter and full-year results have been extended by 45 days and 30 days, respectively, to June 2020. The last date to file shareholding pattern will be May 15 instead of April 21. Other areas where relaxations have been given are filing of corporate governance reports, secretarial compliance reports, and statements of investor complaints.
“Many companies have proactively announced work-from-home. The extension given by Sebi will be helpful for them to focus on the current business exigencies,” said Khazat Kotwal, partner, Deloitte India.
Regulators across the globe, including the US SEC, have provided similar relaxations. "Such compliances invariably entail detailed co-ordination with different functional departments of a listed entity, besides conducting board and committee meetings. In the current situation, this relaxation is certainly a welcome move to avoid any regulatory action against the listed firms on account of any unforeseen lapse in ensuring compliances within the originally permitted timeline,” said Harish Kumar, partner, L&L Partners.
Experts say companies should try their best to keep investors informed. "Globally, regulators are encouraging companies to disclose the impact COVID-19 is likely to have on their businesses, earnings, revenues, and pipeline. So, that is likely to be the next step here as well,” said Shruti Rajan, partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.
Experts say the market regulator is yet to pass any diktat asking companies to make COVID-19 impact disclosures, suo moto action by companies will help improve investor sentiment, battered by the sharp fall in the stock markets.
“Sebi’s latest relaxation will provide time to financial market regulators and business leaders to assess potential accounting guidance or additional disclosure requirements due to COVID-19,” Kotwal said.