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SEC in no rush to change quarterly reporting: chairman

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10/11/2018 | 02:42pm EST
FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hangs on the wall at SEC headquarters in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Thursday the agency was in no rush to change quarterly reporting requirements for large public companies, two months after President Donald Trump ordered his agency to study the matter.

"I don’t think quarterly reporting is going to change for our top names anytime soon," said Chairman Jay Clayton at an event in Washington, confirmed by an SEC spokeswoman.

In August, Trump tweeted the SEC should study a semiannual reporting requirement, saying he had heard from business leaders it would "allow greater flexibility & save money."

The day of Trump's tweet, Clayton said in a statement the president had raised a “key consideration” for U.S. companies and that the agency would continue to study "public company reporting requirements, including the frequency of reporting.”

A move to semiannual reporting would mark a significant shift from decades of quarterly reporting by U.S. companies, and put the U.S. in line with European Union and United Kingdom rules.

Some investors and analysts said less frequent reporting could result in lower costs for companies and remove short-term demands and expectations. But others insist the quarterly system provides critical information to investors and reduces volatility in markets.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June that companies should move away from quarterly guidance, but did not call for an end to quarterly reporting.

While Clayton threw cold water on the notion of less frequent reporting by large companies, he said the frequency of reporting for smaller companies may merit further study. Clayton has made attracting more companies to public markets a top priority since taking control of the SEC in 2017.

(Reporting by Pete Schroeder and Katanga Johnson; Editing by Susan Thomas)

By Pete Schroeder

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