Trump asks SEC to consider changing filing rules from quarterly to biannually

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President Trump called on financial regulators Friday to consider allowing public companies to share information with investors less often, a potentially major shake-up of how corporate America operates.

President Donald Trump has asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to study the decades-old requirement that publicly traded firms produce quarterly earnings reports.

According to a CNN Money report, Trump said, "I'd like to see twice, but we're going to see. That would allow greater flexibility & save money", he tweeted.

Trump said the idea came from conversations with the "world's top executives", including PepsiCo's outgoing chief executive, Indra Nooyi. While some business leaders have groaned about the rigors associated with having to meet targets and metrics four times a year, the SEC has been reticent to make any changes. He also said he would find it challenging not to get information every quarter because so much can change in six months.

SEC spokesmen didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

But executives and other investors said Trump's argument made sense because it would cut costs of compiling and filing results and remove short-term distractions for those running companies.

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Tesla chief executive Elon Musk also cited the issue when explaining why he has launched a surprise effort to take the $50 billion auto company private. The most recent data from the United Kingdom shows that only 57 of the companies in the benchmark FTSE 100 index were still issuing quarterly reports as of September 2017, according to the Investment Association.

Quarterly earnings guidance is used by Wall Street and City analysts to build their earnings estimates and gauge company performance against these figures.

Last fall it laid out a blueprint for changes to capital market rules in a U.S. Treasury report, but did not advocate scrapping quarterly reporting. It's unclear whether management at companies that report semi-annually take a longer-term investment strategy than management at companies reporting quarterly, said Salman Arif, a business professor at Indiana University who has studied the difference in reporting periods.

But scrapping quarterly reporting is not now on the SEC's near-term agenda, according to public records. Others said that the prospect of fewer financial reports could exacerbate price swings around earnings or fuel insider trading. Some said the change could help companies to invest more in their businesses rather than race to show profit gains each quarter.

Business groups including the US Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and exchange operator Nasdaq have been lobbying hard over the past year for lawmakers and the SEC to relax listing rules, warning that the decline in listings hurts jobs and pension funds.

Druckenmiller noted that investors like to know what's going on with the companies they invest in. "Investors need timely, accurate financial information to make informed investment decisions".

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