The SEC shines a bright light on Allergan’s non-GAAP reporting strategy

Allergan PLC received a pointed comment letter from SEC examiners regarding financial reporting in its 8-k dated 8/8/2016 . The SEC specifically questioned how Allergan approached its calculations of adjusted earnings per share stating “you continue to view your non-GAAP adjusted net income attributable to shareholders, including its presentation on a per share basis, as solely a performance measure.”

In the comment letter, the SEC clearly presents that it disagrees with the approach and left little room for interpretation by stating “In light of our observations, we suggest that you carefully consider Question 102.05 of the updated Non-GAAP Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations and consider ending your practice of providing the per share data.”

Even though the SEC has previously directed registrant’s attention to question 102.05 of the updated Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations, this very direct comment letter could act as an early indicator as to what’s on the horizon regarding how the SEC intends to crackdown on company use of non-GAAP figures.

While Allergan’s compliance machine focuses on its response to its SEC comment letter, it is probably a safe bet that other registrants will be monitoring this exchange closely, along with other SEC favorites related to compliance and disclosure interpretations.