Research Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors

This is a great introduction to resources that you can use to research any public company. All public companies must report their financials; quarterly reports, end of year tax forms, changes in top management, and so on. If you ever need to look up a company, this will give you the tools you need to navigate the public records system.


C. Limitations of EDGAR Searches

1. What are some of the limitations on my ability to search for information through EDGAR?

You cannot search EDGAR by type of securities offering. For example, you cannot obtain a list of all preferred warrants offerings. You also cannot search for the securities that are offered on a specific securities exchange or other securities market.

EDGAR does not include information about private placements or other exempted offerings, including off-shore offerings. Although the EDGAR database may include a reference to a paper filing on Form D, copies of the Form is available only in hard copy.

The Full-Text Search currently is limited to filings from the past four years. Your search results when using the Full-Text search will include both filings and exhibits. In contrast, the Companies & Other Filers Search requires that you first locate the filing for which the exhibit was provided. This may require you to search through several older filings of the issuer before you find the information that you are seeking. If you are looking for exhibits incorporated by reference that were not originally filed through EDGAR, you will have to request a paper copy from us.

2. How do I find out if a registration statement has gone effective?

On May 22, 2006, the staffs of the Divisions of Corporation Finance and Investment

Management began to use the EDGAR system to issue notifications of effectiveness for Securities Act registration statements and post-effective amendments, other than those that become effective automatically by law. These notifications will be posted to the EDGAR system the morning after a filing is determined to be effective as form type "EFFECT". Certain registration statements become effective upon filing with the Commission. Therefore, you should check the instructions to a specific registration form for information concerning how and when a particular filing may become effective.

You can submit a request for a copy of a paper filing if you would like to know when the SEC declared an older registration statement effective. You also can check with the individual issuer for effective registration dates.

If you want to find out when a security will be listed on an exchange, you will have to contact the issuer itself. You also may be able to find the information on the website of the exchange or market where the security will be listed or quoted.

3. How do I know if an issuer subsequently amended a filing?

A specific EDGAR entry does not indicate whether or not the issuer later amended the filing. EDGAR users, therefore, should review other search results for filing types marked as "/A".

4. Can I compare a company's filings? 

No. EDGAR does not allow you to compare different years of a specific filing or subsequent amendments to an original filing. Similarly, if a company's filing is amended, EDGAR does not highlight the specific amendment. However, XBRL tagging may change this.