Question 3: An issuer is filing a Form 10-K
report after August 29, 2002, the date Rules 13a-14, 13a-15, 15d-14 and
15d-15 became effective, for a period ending prior to the effective
date. Section V of Release No. 33-8124 provides that the certification
required to be included with the report need contain only the statements
set forth in paragraphs (b)(1), (2) and (3) of Exchange Act Rules 13a-14
and 15d-14. However, the instructions to Forms 10-Q, 10-QSB, 10-K,
10-KSB, 20-F and 40-F indicate that the required certification must be
in the exact form set forth in the report. Must a certification filed
during the transition period for a period ended before August 29th
include the statements set forth in paragraphs (b)(4), (5) and (6) of
Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14?
Answer: No. Paragraphs (b)(4), (5) and (6) of
Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14 need only be included for quarterly and annual
reports, including transition reports, filed for periods ending after
August 29, 2002.
Question 4: Does an amended quarterly or
annual report filed after August 29, 2002, the effective date of Rules
13a-14 and 15d-14, that amends a report filed prior to August 29, 2002
have to be certified?
Answer: Yes. See note 48 of Release 33-8124.
The certification need not include paragraphs (b)(4), (5) and (6) of
Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14.
Question 5: A company is filing a Form
10-Q/A for a period ending prior to the effective date of Rules 13a-14
and 15d-14. The amendment will neither contain nor amend financial
statements. May the principal executive officer and principal financial
officer omit paragraph 3 from the certifications?
Answer: Yes. Since there will be no financial
statements in the Form 10-Q/A, paragraph 3 may be omitted.
Question 6: If an issuer has filed a Form
10-Q before the effective date of Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14, but needs to
file an amended Form 10-Q after August 29, does the issuer need to
provide the disclosure required by Item 307 of Regulation S-K?
Question 7: Does the new Item 15 of Form
20-F apply to periods ending prior to August 29, 2002?
Answer: Issuers must comply with Item 15(b) but
not Item 15(a).
Question 8: Does Section 302 apply to Forms
8-K filed by asset-backed issuers?
Answer: No. Asset-Backed Issuers, as defined in
Rules 13a-14(g) and 15d-14(g), do not need to file a certification with
each Form 8-K. However, the certification that is filed with the
Asset-Backed Issuer's Form 10-K will relate to certain Forms 8-K filed
by the issuer in the preceding year. Please refer to Statement by the
Staff of the Division of Corporation Finance of the Securities and
Exchange Commission Regarding Compliance by Asset-Backed Issuers with
Exchange Act Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14, dated August 27, 2002.
Question 9: Is an issuer that is filing or
submitting reports exclusively under Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act
on a "voluntary" basis (for example, pursuant to a covenant in an
indenture or similar document), due to a statutory suspension of the
Section 15(d) filing obligation, subject to Rules 15d-14 and 15d-15 and
the disclosure required by Item 307 of Regulations S-B and S-K?
Answer: Yes. All companies filing or submitting
reports under Section 13(a) or 15(d) must comply with those provisions
whether or not a Form 15 has been filed pursuant to Rule 15d-6.
Question 10: If only one other officer is
certifying to the issuer's reports, is it permissible to revise
paragraph 4 of the certification to make "other certifying officers"
Question 11: If an officer signs the
certification without altering the wording to indicate he or she is
providing the certification as principal financial officer, how will
readers know whether the signatory is the principal executive officer or
the principal financial officer?
Answer: The officer should include his or her
title under the signature.
Question 12: If the same individual is both
the principal executive officer and principal financial officer, must he
or she sign two certifications?
Answer: The individual may provide one
certification and provide both titles underneath the signature.
Question 13: A CEO resigned after the end of
the quarter but before the filing of the upcoming Form 10-Q. The company
appointed a new CEO prior to the filing. Who signs the certification?
Answer: The new CEO because he or she is the
principal executive officer at the time of the filing.
Question 14: A company has a CEO who is
resigning at the end of the year and is no longer performing the
function of CEO although he is still employed with the company. In the
interim, the company has another individual that is performing the
functions of CEO. Can that other individual sign the certification
despite the fact that the company still has another person with the CEO
Answer: The person performing the function of
CEO at the time of the filing should provide the certification. If it is
not the person with the title of CEO, the company should disclose in the
filing that the other individual is performing that function.
Question 15: An issuer currently does not
have a CEO/CFO. Who must execute the certifications required by Rules
13a-14 and 15d-14?
Answer: As set forth in paragraph (a) of Rules
13a-14 and 15d-14, where an issuer does not have a CEO/CFO, the person
or persons performing similar functions must execute the required
Question 16: Must co-principal executive
officers (or co-principal financial officers) execute separate
certifications or may both execute the same certification?
Answer: Co-principal executive officers (or
co-principal financial officers) should each execute separate
Question 17: If Section 302 certifications
are not included in, for example, a Form 10-K or 10-Q filing, and an
amendment will be filed to include the certifications, must the entire
document be re-filed or can the amendment include only the signature
Answer: Because the certification relates to
the entire Form 10-K or 10-Q filing, the amendment should include the
entire filing, not just the signature pages.
Question 18: Using the same facts in
question 17 above, if the amendment is not filed within the time period
required for the periodic report, is the report deemed to be untimely?
Answer: Yes. The periodic report will not be
deemed timely for purposes of form eligibility and the issuer will not
be deemed current until the amended periodic report containing the
certification is filed.
Question 19: A Canadian issuer is filing a
Form F-10. Are certifications required because the Form F-10
incorporates prior Exchange Act filings?
Question 20: What definition is the
Commission currently using for internal controls and internal controls
and procedures for financial reporting?
Answer: In the release adopting the rules
pursuant to Section 302 of the Act, the Commission noted the
pre-existing concept of "internal controls" contained in Codification of
Statements on Auditing Standards Section 319 ("AU Section 319"). See
Release 33-8124 fn. 59 and accompanying text. In Release No. 33-8138,
the Commission proposed defining "internal controls and procedures for
financial reporting" by reference to AU Section 319, subject to any
future modifications by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
Pending completion of rulemaking, the staff interprets both "internal
controls and procedures for financial reporting" and "internal controls"
for purposes of Exchange Act Rules 13a-14(b)(5) and (6) and 15d-14(b)(5)
and (6) and Item 307 of Regulations S-B and S-K by reference to existing
literature regarding generally accepted auditing standards, which would
also be by reference to AU Section 319.
Question 21: Are paragraphs (b)(5) and
(b)(6) of Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14 currently operative given that there
is no current requirement for evaluation of internal controls?
Answer: Yes, these paragraphs are currently
operative as to any filing relating to a period ending after August 29,
2002. See also Question 22.
Question 22: New Exchange Act Rules
13a-14(b)(5) and (6) and 15d-14(b)(5) and (6) require an issuer's CEO
and CFO to certify that:
- He or she and the other certifying officers have disclosed,
based on their most recent evaluation, to the issuer's auditors and
the audit committee of the board of directors (or persons fulfilling
the equivalent function):
- All significant deficiencies in the design or operation
of internal controls which could adversely affect the issuer's
ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data
and have identified for the issuer's auditors any material
weaknesses in internal controls; and
- Any fraud, whether or not material, that involves
management or other employees who have a significant role in the
issuer's internal controls; and
- He or she and the other certifying officers have indicated in
the report whether or not there were significant changes in internal
controls or in other factors that could significantly affect
internal controls subsequent to the date of their most recent
evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard to
significant deficiencies and material weaknesses.
In addition, paragraph (b) of Item 307 of Regulations S-B and S-K
requires an issuer to disclose whether or not there were significant
changes in the issuer's internal controls or in other factors that could
significantly affect these controls subsequent to the date of their
evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard to significant
deficiencies and material weaknesses. Is a quarterly evaluation of
internal controls or internal controls and procedures for financial
reporting required at this time, and if so, what are the particular
standards? How should the issuer respond to Item 307(b) of Regulations
S-B and S-K? How should the issuer's CEO and CFO address this situation
in their certification statements?
Answer: Although proposed amendments to
Exchange Act Rules 13a-15 and 15d-15 would impose a requirement on an
issuer's management to conduct an evaluation, with the participation of
the issuer's CEO and CFO, of the effectiveness of the issuer's internal
controls and procedures for financial reporting (See Release No.
33-8138), the Commission's rules currently do not specifically require
an issuer's CEO or CFO, or the issuer itself, to conduct periodic
evaluations of the issuer's internal controls or the issuer's internal
controls and procedures for financial reporting. Some elements of
internal controls are included in the definition of disclosure controls
and procedures. There is a current evaluation requirement involving the
CEO and the CFO of that portion of internal controls that is included
within disclosure controls and procedures as part of the required
evaluation of disclosure controls and procedures. We expect that issuers
generally also would engage in an evaluation of internal controls. We
believe that issuers generally currently evaluate internal controls, for
example, in connection with reviewing compliance with Section 13(b) of
the Exchange Act or in connection with the preparation or audit of
In the case of Item 307(b) of Regulations S-K and S-B, to the extent
that an issuer has conducted an evaluation of its internal controls as
of the end of the period covered by the report, including under the
circumstances described in the preceding paragraph, the issuer should
disclose any significant changes to the internal controls or in other
factors that could significantly affect these controls subsequent to the
date of their evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard
to significant deficiencies and material weaknesses. If the issuer has
made any significant changes to internal controls or in other factors
that could significantly affect these controls, such changes would
presumably follow some evaluation, in which case the required disclosure
must be made. If the issuer has made no significant changes, then no
disclosure is required. This response is also applicable to Item 15(b)
of Form 20-F and Item 6(c) of Form 40-F.
Regarding the certifications under Exchange Act Rules 13a-14(b)(5)
and (6) and 15d-14(b)(5) and (6), the disclosures under Item 307 of
Regulations S-B and S-K described above following any evaluations of
internal controls, including in the circumstances described above in
which the CEO or the CFO participates, would satisfy the requirements of
paragraph (6). Paragraph (5) would currently require that disclosure be
made by the CEO and the CFO to the issuer's auditors and the audit
committee of its board of directors of any events enumerated in
paragraph (5) that have occurred of which the CEO or CFO become aware
based on the most recent evaluation of internal controls, including in
the circumstances described above, in which the CEO or CFO participates.
Question 23: For purposes of Rules
13a-14(b)(5) and (6) and 15d-14(b)(5) and (6), what do the terms
"significant deficiencies" and "material weaknesses" mean?
Answer: For purposes of Rules 13a-14(b)(5) and
(6) and 15d-14(b)(5) and (6), the meaning of the terms "significant
deficiencies" and "material weaknesses" should be determined by
reference to generally accepted auditing standards. See generally, AU
Question 24: Where the registrant is a
limited partnership that does not have an audit committee, who should be
considered the persons performing the equivalent function as referenced
in new Exchange Act Rules 13a-14(b)(5) and 15d-14(b)(5)?
Answer: Many limited partnerships do not have
audit committees. Many general partners of limited partnerships are
themselves limited partnerships. In this case, look through each general
partner of the limited partnerships acting as general partner until a
corporate general partner or an individual general partner is reached.
With respect to a corporate general partner, the registrant should look
to the audit committee of the corporate general partner or to the full
board of directors as fulfilling the role of the audit committee. With
respect to an individual general partner, the registrant should look to
the individual as fulfilling the role of the audit committee.