All About SEC EDGAR And Researching Stock Filings

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With technology rapidly evolving, it only makes sense for governments to update their infrastructures to accommodate the changing needs of their people. One of the significant updates that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has implemented is the development of its EDGAR system.

What Is SEC EDGAR?

The SEC Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system is where businesses can file their SEC-related documents electronically. Entities and individuals who are legally required to submit information to the commission must also use it for their filings.

It’s a central location for company and individual filings. The SEC EDGAR database can process approximately 3,000 documents each day, and 40,000 new filers annually. Moreover, it provides up to 3,000 terabytes worth of data to the public per year.

What Is Its Purpose?

The system was launched in 1984 with the objective of building a database that can be accessed electronically by everyone. The tool was aimed at helping investors get accurate information on public corporations for potential investments.

Its primary purpose is to boost the efficiency and fairness of the securities market, especially concerning time-sensitive corporate information that corporations file with the SEC. This system automates the processes of collecting, validating, indexing, accepting, and forwarding filings by companies and individuals.

Currently, the SEC EDGAR database has been refined to make it more efficient for investors and analysts to use. Everyone can search for a company and get relevant information on its finances and operations. You can even research data that’s uploaded by mutual funds, which includes money market funds, as well as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and variable annuities.

Types Of SEC Filing Forms

The database is valuable for learning more about publicly-traded companies, so you can evaluate whether or not trading their stocks will get you higher returns. SEC EDGAR collates each corporation’s information from their filing forms to provide comprehensive financial and operational reports. You can find details, like their fiscal year and other tax-related data, as well as ownership statements and insider trading documentation.

To get relevant information on companies that you’re planning to invest in, you must know the forms to look for, such as:

  • S-1 – The S-1 form is used by companies to register for public trading for the first time. It provides an overview of their industry and competitive landscapes.
  • S-4 – This form, on the other hand, is filed when the company goes through a merger or acquisition. It’s useful for determining the value of a corporation.
  • 10-Q – If you want to know about how the company is doing recently, you should look for the 10-Q form, which provides its unaudited quarter reports. This has to be filed within 45 days of the quarter’s end.
  • 10-K – In contrast, the 10-K is the audited annual report, which shows a comprehensive overview of a business’s finances. This is filed within 90 days after a company’s fiscal year ends.
  • 11-K – This form is used to file for the annual report of employee stock purchase, savings, and similar plans. It discloses the registration details, proxy solicitations, audit requirements, and other relevant information that are crucial for investors.
  • 8-K – A company has to process the 8-K document whenever significant events happen, like changes in management or to the Board of Directors, as well as major contracts, since the data may be useful for investors.

Tips For Using SEC Edgar

SEC Edgar is valuable for market research. However, you must know what factors to focus on since the database pulls up all data on a particular company.

Take advantage of the system’s quick search features to look up a company by name or control index keys. There’s also a full-text search option that enables users to go through the entire text of all SEC filings of up to four years. With this, you can view the main filing document, attachments, and exhibits.

SEC Edgar can also be used to find required documents from mutual funds and annuities. You can check the Search Tools page to click on links to disclosures and voting records. Moreover, you can search for a fund by name, ticker, or SEC key, as well as for variable insurance products.

Conclusion

EDGAR is an initiative by the SEC to boost the efficiency and fairness of the securities market through an electronic database. The system automates the collection, validation, and forwarding of submissions, especially for time-sensitive corporate information.

The database is also useful for evaluating the profitability of investing in a particular company. You can find valuable information on all publicly-traded corporations. Just make sure that you know the factors to consider.