Washington (June 13, 2002) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new rules Wednesday that would make companies disclose more information in their 8-K filings, and would require chief executives to personally sign off on financial statements.

The agency wants to add 13 new events that would require 48-hour disclosure in filings to the agency, including a much broader range of items that affect a company’s gains and losses, SEC director of corporate finance Alan Beller told reporters during a conference call this week.

SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt first broached many of these changes back in February, and they are expected to go into effect by the end of the year.

The most contentious proposal will probably be one that forces chief executives and chief financial officers to sign declarations in annual and quarterly reports that the filings are correct and accurately reflect the company’s current condition. This would leave top executives open to charges of fraud if they signed off on reports they knew were false.

Among the major developments requiring immediate disclosure in 8-K filings would be the departure and hiring of senior executives and directors, mergers and acquisitions, and transactions with contingent liabilities that could unexpectedly affect a company's financial condition.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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