On August 31, 2016 as part of the SEC’s continued Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative, the SEC proposed amendments that would require the inclusion of hyperlinks to exhibits to most registration statements and periodic and current reports. The proposed rules would also require these filings to be in HTML format.

The proposed rules would apply to the following forms:

  • 10, 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K and 10-D under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; and
  • S-1, S-3, S-4, S-8, S-11, F-1, F-3, F-4, SF-1 and SF-3 under the Securities Act of 1933.

All exhibits filed pursuant to Item 601 of Regulation S-K would have to be hyperlinked to the above-referenced forms, other than exhibits that were filed on paper prior to the implementation of EDGAR or due to a hardship exemption.

The SEC currently allows for filings to be made in either HTML format or ASCII format. As ASCII does not support hyperlinks, under the proposed rules, nearly all filings would have to be made in HTML.

If adopted, the proposed amendments would significantly facilitate the review of public filings, with little additional burden for companies. A 45-day comment period has been set for the proposed rules. The full text of the proposed rules can be found here https://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2016/33-10201.pdf