Officials at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were briefed on a new report from George Washington University School of Business graduate students participating in a concentrated effort to improve the effectiveness of financial disclosure for investors. 

The report was issued through the Initiative on Rethinking Financial Disclosure ("The Initiative") - a partnership of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility (ICR) at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) and the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ). It responds directly to SEC chair Mary Jo White’s challenge to improve the effectiveness of corporate disclosure to investors.

Amongst its findings, the report presents a set of recommendations on the content, presentation, and creation process of corporate filings. Suggestions include:

  • Providing executive summaries that highlight only the changes made compared to last year’s submission;
  • Stratifying risk factors according to non-company-specific and company-specific issues;
  • Requiring a “Strategic Report” that illuminates the company’s objectives and strategies; and,
  • Creating a “Muse Project” that solicits open sourcing ideas on better ways to disclose information, particularly as related to reporting on risks. 

 “Through these recommendations, GWSB is bringing new and innovative thinking to complex, present day issues at the intersection of the public and private sectors,” stated Susan Kulp, GWSB Faculty Advisor. “GWSB’s eight students made recommendations that have the potential to improve the quality, transparency, and effectiveness of mandatory corporate disclosure.”
For more information on the report, visit GW's website here.