Where to Find SEC Filings
Publicly traded domestic and foreign companies are required to submit SEC filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC filings are accessible in the SEC’s EDGAR database that is a freely available to the public. The Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system allows investors to quickly research company’s financial and operational information.
To use the EDGAR system effectively, you should know which categories of information appear in the various SEC documents and the search methods that work well. For example, if you are looking for information on recent corporate events and developments, you should check this information in SEC filing 8-K.
Most investors use the Companies & Other filter searches. When you are on this page, search the company name as recorded on SEC filings instead of its common name. For example, when searching for IBM SEC filings, search “International Business Machines” instead of “IBM”. In the absence of the company name, you can use the advanced search for more search options. Under this option, you can find the SEC filings by file number, state, country, and industry category (SIC code).
Access the search function here -> https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html
EDGAR search function
As an alternative, use the EDGAR Full-Text Search to search using a keyword or a conceptual search query. The search retrieves a list of SEC filings from the EDGAR database based on the keyword or search query. The Full-text search has an advanced search option that can filter the results based on the form type, industry, and date.
The SEC search results appear as a list of filings, starting from the most recent. The results are identified by SEC form types. If you are looking for specific disclosures, you will have to review the individual filings from the search results.
Photo of SEC’s EDGAR Database
Limitations of Edgar Database for SEC filings
One of the limitations of the EDGAR system is that you cannot compare disclosures within specific listings, irrespective of whether the filings were made by the same company. Also, the system does not provide the number of publicly traded companies or the total number of issuers in a particular market. For every search query, there are limits on the number of results returned.
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