The SEC has proposed rule and form amendments that would require registrants to include a hyperlink to exhibits in their filings.

The proposed amendments would require registrants that file registration statements and periodic and current reports that are subject to the exhibit requirements under Item 601 of Regulation S-K, or that file on Forms F-10 or 20-F, to include a hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index of the filings. The only exception identified by the SEC is Form ABS-EE. Form ABS-EE is excepted because the form is used solely to facilitate the filing of tagged data and related information that must be filed as exhibits to the form.

The amendments would also require that registrants submit all of these filings in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) format as opposed to American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format. The reason is ASCII documents do not support hyperlinks. The SEC does not believe this is a burden because over 99% of documents are currently filed in HTML format.

If the filing is a periodic or current report under the Exchange Act, a registrant would be required to include an active hyperlink to each exhibit listed in the exhibit index when the report is filed. If the filing is a registration statement, the registrant would only be required to include an active hyperlink to each exhibit in the version of the registration statement that becomes effective.