YES I know it’s only been a few days since my last post about him, and no, I’m not changing this site’s name to ChrisCoxWatch.com. It’s just that the SEC chairman’s exploits on the technology front leave me little choice but to keep writing about them.
You will recall that several weeks ago, Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz posted an open letter to Chairman Cox on his blog asking for clarification about using websites and blogs to meet Regulation FD requirements instead of using newswire releases.
On Friday, however, Sun’s CEO got his reply from the SEC’s chairman — posted as a comment on his blog. That comment might just be the first ever blog entry by an SEC chairman past or present.
In his response to Schwartz, Cox says this:
The Commission encourages the use of websites as a source of information to the market and investors, and we welcome your offer to further discuss with us your views in this area. Assuming that the Commission were to embrace your suggestion that the “widespread dissemination” requirement of Regulation FD can be satisfied through web disclosure, among the questions that would need to be addressed is whether there exist effective means to guarantee that a corporation uses its website in ways that assure broad non-exclusionary access, and the extent to which a determination that particular methods are effective in that regard depends on the particular facts. (emphasis mine)
To be honest, I don’t quite know what that means. It would be nice if it was in plainer English. However, I am smart enough to realize that it’s not a simple “no.” It’s a “depends on the circumstances” response.
Which is kind of what both Ken and I have been saying. It will be interesting now to see how Sun responds.
It is ironic, though, that at around the time that I am asking whether IROs should comment on blog posts, the chairman of the SEC is doing exactly that; commenting on a blog.
Update, Nov. 7: The Associated Press reads Cox’s response as him being “intrigued by the idea of letting companies use Weblogs to disseminate important corporate information.”