The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that there will be a moratorium on the publication of all FTSE listed company preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks due to covid-19
The FCA has written to companies it knows were intending to publish preliminary financial statements in the next few days to delay their planned publications. This affects all FTSE listed companies but so far AIM listers are not included.
The regulator said that 'listed companies and the audit profession are facing unprecedented practical challenges during the coronavirus crisis.
'The FCA believes the practice of issuing preliminary financial statements in advance of the full audited financial statements is adding unnecessarily to the pressure on companies and the audit profession at this moment.'
The unprecedented events of the last couple of weeks mean that the basis on which companies are reporting and planning is changing rapidly. It is important that due consideration is given by companies to these events in preparing their disclosures.
Observing timetables set before this crisis arose may not give companies the necessary time to do this.
The move is endorsed by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
The FRC said: ‘It is important that due consideration is given by companies to these events in preparing all reporting.
‘The FRC encourages listed companies and their auditors to consider carefully whether they should delay other corporate reports for the next two weeks, such as interim financial statements and final audited financial statements, except where necessary to meet a legal or regulatory requirement.’
The FRC is in talks with the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) about a package of measures aimed at ensuring companies and their auditors take the necessary time in these uncertain times to prepare appropriate disclosures and address current practical challenges and the three bodies intend to announce details shortly.
In less than a week the government has announced a multibillion pound rescue package to support businesses and individuals through the coronavirus pandemic but the scale of the crisis means that further measures will likely follow.
A new lending facility from the Bank of England has been set up to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cashflows through loans.