The SEC has proposed rule amendments that would require companies that file registration statements and periodic and current reports to include hyperlinks to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of their filings (in a more subtle change, the index would be required to appear before the signatures rather than simply appearing before the exhibits as is current required). All filings will need to be submitted in HTML format.
The practical impact of these amendments, if approved, would be to make it much more efficient to locate exhibits, particularly those incorporated by reference. For example, under current rules if an investor wants to find a company's bylaws on EDGAR he or she must locate the bylaws on the exhibit list (such as in the most recent 10-K or 20-F) which will list the filing with which the bylaws were most recently filed. He or she must then separately locate that filing. Hyperlinking would effectively eliminate the second step, saving time.