SEC Filings

Public disclosures about public companies

What are SEC Filings?

SEC filings are financial statements, periodic reports and other formal documents that public companies, broker-dealers, and insiders are required to submit to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC was created in the 1930s with an aim to curb the stock manipulation and fraud that was taking place among companies. The regulatory body collects financial and operational information of publicly traded domestic and foreign companies.

SEC verifies the information contained in the submitted SEC forms to ensure that it meets the set standards. Most of the filings are made available to the public through the SEC database.

Importance of SEC filings

By making it mandatory for publicly traded companies to make SEC filings, the US government enables investors to review company’s history and forecast future performances. Investors and finance professionals rely on these filings to get reliable information about companies that they are evaluating for investment purposes. The filings help investors to make informed investment decisions when planning to sell, buy or hold company’s securities.

SEC Filings Available to Investors

The most common SEC forms that companies must file include 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K. Form 10-K is the annual report issued by a firm at the end of the fiscal year. It includes a detailed summary of the company’s results for the year, risk factors, management discussions, analysis of financial condition and the details of all the annual financial statements. The 10-Q form presents a summary of the company’s operations by quarter, mainly the first three-quarters of the year. It includes the main financial statements, analysis of financial condition and the risk factors.

Companies use form 8-K to report unscheduled events or corporate changes that could be of importance to shareholders, SEC, and Investors. The report comprises material events such as the resignation of directors, acquisition, bankruptcy, disposal of assets and other important events.

Where to Find SEC Filings

SEC filings are available online at the official SEC website, www.sec.gov. Also, most of the publicly traded companies that submit SEC filings to the regulatory body also publish the reports on their websites, under investor relations tab. However, some of the SEC forms are kept confidential and therefore not publicly available. Obtaining the available SEC forms and interpreting them correctly can help investors make timely investment decisions.

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