Covid-19: FCA asks firms to delay publishing preliminary results
Britain's financial watchdog has asked companies due to release preliminary financial statements in the next few days to delay publication due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
The Financial Conduct Authority said it "strongly requests" all listed companies observe a moratorium for at least two weeks.
"Investors in capital markets rely on trustworthy information on the companies whose instruments they trade. The unprecedented events of the last couple of weeks mean that the basis on which companies are reporting and planning is changing rapidly," the FCA said in a statement on Saturday.
"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."
Companies have issued a swathe of profit warnings as the coronavirus pandemic hits sales and revenues across the board. The FCA said issuing preliminary financial statements ahead of full audited financial statements is adding unnecessarily to the pressure on companies and the audit profession at this moment.
The FCA said the practice of issuing preliminary financial statements was common among UK-listed companies but not required by either the Listing Rules or Transparency Directive.
"Rather, the requirement is that companies publish full audited financial statements within four months of the financial year end. The FCA further notes that it is common to publish preliminary financial statements considerably earlier than the four months permitted for the filing of full financial statements," it said.