As the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads across the globe, investor uncertainty over the economic impact of the coronavirus is increasingly reflected in the markets. Financial regulators have begun to take note and react.

Early in March, in the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it was applying conditional regulatory relief certain publicly traded company filing obligations under the federal securities laws. The impacts of the coronavirus, said the regulator, may present challenges for certain companies that are required to provide information to trading markets, shareholders, and the SEC. These companies may include U.S. companies located in the affected areas, as well as companies with operations in those regions.

In order to ease the compliance burden, the SEC has issued an order subject to certain conditions, provides publicly traded companies with an additional 45 days to file certain disclosure reports

that would otherwise have been due between March 1 and April 30, 2020. Companies must convey through a current report a summary of why the relief is needed in their particular circumstances. The regulator may extend the time period for the relief, with any additional conditions it deems appropriate, or provide additional relief as circumstances warrant.

“…we recognize that this situation may prevent certain issuers from compiling these reports within required timeframes,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada (BOC), in an effort to blunt the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Canadian economy, slashed its key target rate a half percent to 1.25% last week, the first rate cut since the summer of 2015. “The downside risks to the economy today are more than sufficient to outweigh our continuing concern about financial vulnerabilities,” said Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.

For more information, please call Barbara Hendrickson at BAX Securities Law (416) 601 -1004.

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