President Trump on Friday called on financial regulators to consider allowing public companies to share information with the public less often, a potentially major shake-up of corporate America.

“That would allow greater flexibility & save money,” Trump said in a tweet.

Publicly traded companies must file quarterly reports disclosing extensive details about their operations, including profit and revenue. But some chief executives have complained that such requirements lead them to focus on short-term profits rather than the long-term health of their companies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission should study moving the reporting requirement to every six months instead of every three, Trump said.

“We are not thinking far enough out. We’ve been accused of that for a long time, this country. So we’re looking at that very, very seriously,” Trump said as he was boarding Marine One on the White House lawn Friday morning. “We’re looking at twice a year, instead of four times a year.”

Trump said the idea came from conversations with the “world’s top executives,” including the CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi. “I asked, ‘What could we do to make it even better?’ And she said, ‘Two-time-a-year reporting, not quarterly.’ “


The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The independent regulator is already widely expected to propose ways to simplify its public disclosures and eliminate redundancies in corporate public disclosures. Some executives, including JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon, have recommended companies stop providing Wall Street analysts guidance on what to expect from quarterly profits, for example.

But Trump’s proposal goes much further than many expected and is likely to be lambasted by shareholder advocates, who in recent years have called on corporations to share more information with the public, not less. The Council of Institutional Investors rejected the idea. “Investors need timely, accurate financial information to make informed investment decisions,” Amy Borrus, CII’s deputy director, said in a statement.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed forcing companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue to weigh the interests of all stakeholders — including workers and local communities, in addition to shareholders — in their decision-making. Under the proposal, workers would elect 40 percent of the directors, and three-fourths of directors and shareholders would need to sign off on political expenditures.

The proposals offer drastically different approaches to addressing corporations’ reliance on reaching short-term goals to satisfy investors.

Trump “was a CEO, and managers are never wild about the constant reporting. It’s a lot of work to report every three months,” said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.

Trump’s proposal would require an overhaul of the basic accounting system used by companies since the Great Depression, corporate governance experts say. The quarterly reports provide important insight into a company’s potential trouble spots and force its executives to address shareholders’ concerns. It also forces the companies to be more disciplined, they say.


“Our whole accounting system is based around the quarter,” Elson said.

If a company struggles to meet quarterly profit expectations or executives feel pressured to manipulate results to reach Wall Street expectations, that reflects poor management and communication, Elson said.

“It is not the fact that you report quarterly that is the problem; it’s a bad management team,” he said. “Changing the reporting period is not going to change that.”

Eliminating the quarterly reporting requirements could also lead investors to fill the information vacuum by relying more heavily on rumors and off-the-cuff remarks made by company executives, corporate governance experts say.

“They are more likely to react to other types of information and more likely to overreact,” said Jill Fisch, a co-director of the Institute for Law and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. It “is likely to lead to more speculation and price volatility.”

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