Firms may request an extension of up to 45 days on filings due from March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020. To request an extension, firms must file the form 8-K or 6-K by the original filing deadline of the report and include the reason they could not file the report, schedule or form on a timely basis as well as an estimate of the date it will be filed.
The SEC also announced it will not recommend enforcement of in-person meetings for board meetings scheduled to be held through June 15, 2020 for approvals and renewals of contracts (including material changes), plans or arrangements under section 14c or rules 12b-1 or 15a-4b(2), or for selections of a fund’s independent public accountant.
View the SEC’s Press Release for more information.
Did your Business Continuity Plan Prepare Your Firm?
The pandemic and its rapid, worldwide spread has prompted governments in countries all across the globe to mandate closures of schools, restaurants, and stores, and enact social distancing measures to slow the spread of the disease. It has caused firms to enact Business Continuity Plans (BCP) to prevent significant business disruptions.
A thoughtful prevention program may help your employees stay healthy. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to publish updated information about preventative measures.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), has published a flyer with guidance on how to stop the spread of the coronavirus germs:
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Cover your cough with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Firms can further prepare to prevent the spread of germs by maintaining an inventory of surface wipes, hand sanitizing products, and masks and by requiring employees who have any symptoms of illness to stay home.
Identifying essential business functions and plans to continue them in an emergent event is critical. Cross training employees on essential business functions will ensure that your firm is adequately prepared to continue serving clients in the event that you experience extended or multiple employee absences.
Providing accommodations for employees to work remotely requires access to software and hardware, remote servers, and cloud technologies. Identifying which employees are permitted or expected to work remotely and preparing and testing the capabilities in advance of a disruption is critical. There also are considerations for financial industry firms; see JLG’s March Risk Management Tip. It is also important to verify that insurance coverage is extended to employees working remotely in the event of a disaster or emergency.
An evaluation of key service providers’ BCPs are an important aspect of a due diligence evaluation. Your firm should be aware of provider’s plans and include any necessary alterations to their business functions in your firm’s risk assessment and testing. Perform due diligence and be aware of vendor limitations.
Clients will undoubtedly be uneasy during uncertain times and concerned about your business and their investments. Communication about your continuity plans and any change in operations are critical to easing their fears.
Testing and Training
This coronavirus pandemic has been a true test of firms’ business continuity plans. Once life has settled and routines are back to normal, firms should review “lessons learned” as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the business, continue to test plans on an annual basis, and train employees with any updates to their plans.
Let Our Experience Work for You
Jacko Law Group and our team of attorneys are here to help! We can help your firm draft extension or relief requests from the SEC, create review and update business continuity plans related to a pandemic and beyond, and create or update your succession plan. Our experts are also available to test and update existing plans and to develop and deliver appropriate employee training. Contact Jacko Law Group today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 298-2880.