Further guidance for companies has been published in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Corporate reporting

  • FRC Lab reports – The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Financial Reporting Lab has published two reports which seek to give companies practical guidance on corporate reporting, and investor expectations, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Covid-19 – Resources, action, the future covers: resources, including the availability of cash; actions to manage short-term expenditure and ensure viability; and the future and how the decisions taken now ensure the sustainability of the company and impact customers, suppliers and employees. These three areas reflect the Five current questions investors seek information on, published by the FRC Lab in March 2020.
    • Covid-19 – Going concern, risk and viability notes that going concern is not binary, or a pass/fail concept. A company can be a going concern even when one or more material uncertainties exist. However, in those circumstances, those uncertainties should be disclosed, together with management’s consideration of them. In relation to risk reporting, the FRC Lab says investors want to understand how the risks have changed, the specific impact on the company and how management have responded.

Contract

  • Execution of documents – The Law Society has updated its guidance on virtual execution and the use of e-signatures to include tips on how to operate in practice.
  • Covid-19 contract disputes – The economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic inevitably exposes businesses to heightened legal risk. In particular, counterparties may seek to delay, or avoid, performance and/or terminate agreements. We have published a guide which provides a general overview of the common bases for avoiding contractual obligations in commercial contracts, including a comparison of the key rights and remedies.

Companies House

  • Filings at Companies House – Companies House has developed a temporary service to enable companies to file certain documents online that would usually have to be submitted in a paper format. A list of the documents that can be filed in this way, which is currently quite limited, is available here. Companies House is planning to expand this service before the end of July to enable the upload of resolutions and articles of association.

Other relevant materials

  • Company meetings and insolvency regime – The new Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, which will both reform the insolvency regime in the UK and introduce relaxations for companies holding meetings while Covid-19 restrictions remain in force, received Royal Asset last night. We will be publishing further commentary in due course. Further information on the then draft Bill and its impact on financial institutions, landlords and supply chains is available here.
  • Insurance – The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published guidance on its expectations for insurers and insurance intermediaries when handling claims and complaints for business interruption policies during the test case brought by the FCA (see our corporate update 2020/10 for brief details on the case).
  • Repairing the balance sheet – As businesses emerge from the immediate shocks of the humanitarian and economic effects of Covid-19 and the public health responses to it, we have published a new guide in which we look at how businesses can begin to rebuild their balance sheets and adapt their funding in order to ensure their long-term ability to thrive.

For further Covid-19 related publications, see our COVID-19 Hub.

Sarah Hawes
Sarah Hawes
+44 20 7466 2953

Gareth Sykes
Gareth Sykes
+44 20 7466 7631

Gavin Williams
Gavin Williams
+44 20 7466 2153