On Aug. 31, 2016, the SEC proposed amendments that would require companies to include a hyperlink to each exhibit identified in the exhibit index of registration statements and periodic and current reports. To enable the use of hyperlinks, companies must submit these filings in HyperTextMarkup Language, or HTML, format.

The proposed amendments are part of the SEC’s “Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative,” a comprehensive evaluation of the SEC’s disclosure requirements aimed at improving the disclosure regime for the benefit of both companies and investors. Under the current system, someone seeking to access an exhibit that has been incorporated by reference must review the exhibit index to determine the filing in which the exhibit is included, and then must search through the company’s filings to locate the relevant filing to review for the particular exhibit. The proposed amendments are designed to facilitate easier access to these exhibits.

Nearly all of the forms that are required to include exhibits under Item 601 of Regulation S-K will be impacted by the proposed amendments.

For registration statements, active hyperlinks to each exhibit would be required only in the version of the registration statement that becomes effective. For periodic and current reports, the active hyperlinks to each exhibit would be required when the report is filed.

Comments are due to the SEC on or before Oct. 27, 2016.