The NYSE has filed a proposed rule with the SEC which will require listed companies to provide notice to the Exchange at least 10 minutes before making any public announcement with respect to a dividend or stock distribution in all cases, including outside of the hours in which the Exchange’s immediate release policy is in operation. The principal change is requiring advance notice at any time, rather than just during the hours of operation of the immediate release policy as is currently the case. You can find the rule filing here and here.
The Exchange’s immediate release policy, set forth in Sections 202.05 and 202.06 of the Manual, already requires companies releasing material news between 7.00 AM ET and the NYSE close (generally 4.00 PM ET) to call the Exchange’s Market Watch team at least 10 minutes before issuing their announcement to discuss the content of the announcement and also email a copy of the proposed announcement to Market Watch at least 10 minutes before its release. Listed companies announcing dividends during these hours are required to comply with the immediate release policy in connection with such announcement.
Section 204.12 of the Manual requires listed companies to give prompt notice to the Exchange as to any dividend action or action relating to a stock distribution in respect of a listed stock (including the omission or postponement of a dividend action at the customary time as well as the declaration of a dividend). This notice must be given at least ten days in advance of the record date and is in addition to the requirement to publicly disclose the information pursuant to the immediate release policy. The dividend notice must be given to the Exchange in accordance with Section 204.00.4 Notice must be given as soon as possible after declaration and in any event, no later than simultaneously with the announcement to the news media.
In addition, Section 204.21 of the Manual requires listed companies to give prompt notice to the Exchange of the fixing of a date for the taking of a record of shareholders, or for the closing of transfer books (in respect of a listed security), for any purpose. The notice must state the purpose or purposes for which the record date has been fixed. This notice must be provided to the Exchange in accordance with Section 204.00.
The Exchange proposes to amend each of Sections 204.12 and 204.21 to specify that notice of any dividend or stock distribution required by Section 204.12 must be provided to the Exchange at least 10 minutes before any public announcement, including when such announcement is being made outside of Exchange trading hours. The principal effect of this amendment would be to require listed companies to provide 10 minutes advance notice to the Exchange with respect to a dividend announcement made at any time, rather than just during the hours of operation of the immediate release policy as is currently the case.