Corporate Reports, How to Get
You can get information about companies from a variety of sources. We'll cover corporate reports, reference books, and commercial databases that provide information. If you have questions about corporate bankruptcy or the worth of an old stock certificate, we have information that may help you.
Corporate reports are a treasure trove of information for investors: they tell you whether a company is making money or losing money and why. You'll find this information in the company's quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, annual reports (with audited financial statements) on Form 10-K, and periodic reports of significant events on Form 8-K.
It's usually easy to find information about large companies from the companies themselves, newspapers, brokerage firms, and the SEC. By contrast, it can be extremely difficult to find information about small companies. Generally, smaller companies only have to file reports with the SEC if they have $10 million or more in assets and 500 or more shareholders, or list their securities on an exchange or Nasdaq.
To invest wisely and avoid investment scams, research each investment opportunity thoroughly and ask questions. If you'd like to learn more about the SEC's registration and reporting requirements, read Q&A: Small Business and the SEC.
You can get corporate reports from the following sources:
- The SEC You can find out whether a company files by using the SEC's database known as EDGAR. To obtain copies of public filings you may access How to Request Public Documents.
- The company Ask the company if it is registered with the SEC and files reports with us. That information may be listed on its Web site. Check out new or smaller companies thoroughly because many frauds involve these types of companies. Our brochures on Internet fraud and microcap companies provide valuable information you shouldn't miss.
- Other government regulators Banks do not have to file reports with the SEC, but file with banking regulators. Visit their Web sites: Federal Reserve System's National Information Center of Banking Information, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Other Types of Information
To find out whether a company has been cleared to sell its securities in a particular state and whether it is in good standing, you can contact the following:
- Your state securities regulator Contact the North American Securities Administrators Association to get the name and phone number of your state securities regulator to see if the company has been cleared to sell securities in your state and to find out about the people behind the company.
- The Secretary of State where the company is incorporated You can find out whether the company is a corporation in good standing and has filed annual reports with the state through the secretary of state where the company is incorporated. Check the National Association of Secretaries of State's Web site for a list of most secretaries of state.
You can find general financial information about companies from the following reference books and commercial databases. The SEC cannot recommend or endorse any particular research firm, its personnel, or its products. But there are a number of resources you may consult:
- Bloomberg News Service and Lexis/Nexis provide news stories about a company. Dun & Bradstreet, Moody's, Hoover's Profiles, and Standard & Poor's Corporate Profiles provide financial data about companies. These and other sources are available in many public libraries or law and business school libraries.
If you have questions about what happens when a company declares bankruptcy, you can get information from our brochure on bankruptcy.
Old Stock Certificates
If you have an old stock certificate, read about the resources you can check to see whether the certificate has value.