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GE RECOGNIZED AS PACESETTER IN FINANCIAL REPORTING AT PACE UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE

09/26/2016

GE RECOGNIZED AS PACESETTER IN FINANCIAL REPORTING AT PACE UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE

Lubin School of Business at Pace University Hosted Event to Recognize Progress in Modernizing Financial Reports and Spur Discussion about Investor Priorities for Ongoing Initiatives

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 – The Lubin School of Business at Pace University held its first-ever Pacesetters in Financial Reporting Conference today, designed to stimulate discussion about how to enhance financial reports and to acknowledge, and learn from, companies that are striving to better meet the needs of today’s investors.  The conference was hosted by Pace’s Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting, in association with Financial Executives International (FEI) and EY.  

“We were honored to provide a forum to hear about the current objectives of investors, understand recent rulemaking initiatives, and to learn from the proactive companies who are leading the way in modernizing their financial reports,” said Leslie F. Seidman, Executive Director of the Pace Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting and former Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).  “We hope even more companies will be motivated to implement some of the great ideas that were shared today.”

The proactive efforts of companies in the S&P 500 were analyzed in a report issued today by the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) and EY entitled, Disclosure Effectiveness in Action: Companies Make Great Strides, which provides before-and-after examples of the types of changes companies are making to enhance the readability and relevance of their reports. This report builds on a FERF-EY report issued in 2015 called, Disclosure Effectiveness: Companies Embrace the Call to Action.

“Improving the effectiveness of corporate disclosures is a multi-party initiative of paramount importance to investors, companies, regulators and our markets at large,” added Neri Bukspan, Americas Disclosures Leader at EY and a co-author of the report. “We are highly encouraged by the findings and the impressive progress made by many companies to advance their disclosures. The actions they are taking voluntarily to communicate in more effective and innovative ways will undoubtedly accelerate the pace of addressing the ever-increasing information needs of the 21st century investor.”

Jeffrey S. Bornstein, CFO of GE, was selected to deliver the keynote address, in recognition of GE’s innovative efforts to modernize its financial reporting.  He described GE’s journey in redesigning its financial reports over the last few years.  Mr. Bornstein and his GE colleagues were named the “Pacesetter in Financial Reporting for 2016,” for their leadership and ingenuity in advancing financial reporting.

“At GE, our financial disclosures serve a very broad set of investors,” said Mr. Bornstein. “It’s our job to communicate with investors in a way that’s clear and in a format that stays current with today’s landscape.  I’m proud of the entire GE team, who all had the courage of their convictions to continually innovate.  It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FASB have undertaken Disclosure Effectiveness initiatives, and have been reconsidering existing requirements, such as Regulation S-K and S-X, and have issued various proposals to address the current needs of investors.  At the same time, SEC officials and others have encouraged companies to enhance their financial reports, for example, by using graphics to present information concisely, and by using cross-references to reduce redundant information. 

“Many companies have taken the initiative to enhance their financial reports, recognizing the importance of telling their story as effectively as possible to inform shareholders and the investor community,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, President and CEO of FEI and FERF. “Today, we heard from a number of thought-leaders about their experiences and priorities, which should help accelerate the pace of change and innovation.  FEI will continue to support, analyze and share information to further this important initiative.”

The conference also included three panel discussions addressing:

•           Investor Perspectives, which solicited views on recent disclosure effectiveness trends, including financial and nonfinancial information, sustainability reporting, and non-GAAP measures. Panelists also shared their perspectives on priorities for future enhancements in reporting.

Moderator: Neri Bukspan, Partner, EY

Panelists:

Fred Cannon, Director of Research, KBW

Mark LaMonte, Managing Director, Moody’s Investor Services

Mary Morris, Investment Officer, CalSTRS

Michael Strefanski, SVP Investor Relations, Verizon

•           Company-led Initiatives to Enhance Financial Reporting, which explored recent trends and innovations in disclosure effectiveness, including first-hand accounts from leading companies and key findings from the FERF-EY Report.

Moderator: Reed Wilson, FEI Committee on Corporate Reporting Advisory Member and Former Senior Accounting Policy Advisor, ExxonMobil

Panelists:

Timothy P. Flynn, Walmart Audit Committee Chairman, Director, J.P. Morgan Chase, former Chairman and CEO, KPMG International

Daniel Murdock, Controller, Comcast

Alison Malin Zoellner, Assistant General Counsel, Securities and Corporate Finance, Honeywell International Inc.

•           Overseers of Financial Reporting, which addressed rulemaking priorities including the FASB and SEC, as well as Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) initiatives to expand sustainability reporting.

Moderator: Leslie F. Seidman, Executive Director, Center of Excellence in Financial Reporting, Pace University Lubin School of Business, Former FASB Chairman

Panelists:

Keith F. Higgins, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, SEC

James L. Kroeker, Vice Chairman, FASB

Elisse B. Walter, Audit Committee member, Occidental Petroleum, Director of the SASB, former SEC Chair

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About the Lubin School of Business at Pace University:

Globally recognized and prestigiously accredited, the Lubin School of Business integrates New York City’s business world into the experienced-based education of its students at Pace’s suburban and downtown campuses, implemented by the region’s largest co-op program, team-based learning, and customized career guidance. Its programs are designed to launch success-oriented graduates toward upwardly mobile careers.  www.pace.edu/lubin

About Financial Executives International:

Financial Executives International (FEI) is the leading organization representing the views of corporate financial management. Its more than 10,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry. FEI enhances member professional development through peer networking, career management services, conferences, research and publications. Members participate in the activities of 74 chapters in the U.S. and a chapter in Japan. FEI is located in Morristown, NJ, and Washington, D.C. Visit www.financialexecutives.org for more information.

About EY:

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

 

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