SEC Launches Software Tool With Information on Activities in State Sponsors of Terrorism
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that it has added to its Web site a new software tool that permits investors to obtain information directly from company disclosure documents about their business interests in countries that have been designated as "State Sponsors of Terrorism" (currently Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria).
The SEC's software tool, which can be found at www.sec.gov/edgar/edgartlistfilings.htm, contains a menu listing the countries on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Clicking on the country name brings up a list of the companies whose 2006 annual reports disclosed business activities in that country. Clicking on the name of a company will then bring up the pertinent portions of that company’s annual report.
A quick review of this new software reveals that this new tool is a work in progress and needs to be refined. For example, included on the list are companies that that have already wound up their operations in the countries in question or are legally doing business with such countries pursuant to licenses issued by OFAC. Thus, anyone using this information to base their investment decisions should carefully review the information contained in the SEC filings.
In addition, although the SEC's press release announcing the new software tool stated that the "existence of a disclosure by a company concerning activities in one of the listed countries does not, in itself, mean that the company directly or indirectly supports terrorism or is otherwise engaged in any improper activity", this disclaimer does not appear anywhere on the new software tool.