OLD Media Moves

New searches available on SEC web site

June 12, 2006

The Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled three new search features on its Web site Monday that should improve the ability of business journalists to search for specific pieces of information in the thousands of corporate filings that get dumped into the SEC web site every day.

SECHere is a rundown of them:

1. A full text search, which allows you to search for words and phrases in SEC documents for the past two years. The full text of a filing includes all data in the filing as well as all attachments to the filing. The SEC is still developing this feature, and it plans to enhance it based on user feedback. Please email your comments and suggestions for improvement to textsearch@sec.gov.

For example, I did a text search for the phrase “business journalism” and discovered that the last time it was used in an SEC filing was an 8-K filed by Ziff Davis on May 10. The term “business news” was last found in a 10QSB by Rocketinfo Inc. filed on May 18. This looks similar to the search function on 10Kwizard.com.

This function is in a beta version, but it looks great.

2. The second is a mutual fund and variable products filer archive. This search allows you to find mutual funds and variable insurance products.

For example, I went into the search function and typed in the ticker “FSFSX” to get filings for the AIM Financial Services Fund, and I got the March 1 filing that showed me what the biggest holdings were in this fund. The fund had $735 million in assets at the end of the quarter, and its largest holdings were Citigroup, with $57 million worth of stock, and JP Morgan with $55 million in stock.

3. The third new function on www.sec.gov is a search function for effectiveness notices. These notices are the SEC’s way of letting investors know that the stock has been approved for sale on the market. Only when the stock issue has been cleared for sale (when registration has become “effective”) can the shares be priced and firm orders for them be accepted.

If you’ve used these new functions and want to share any tricks with other business journalists, please post a reply.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox announced these updates to the web site in his opening remarks at the SEC’s Interactive Data Roundtable in Washington, D.C., on Monday, although I stumbled across them today when I went to the SEC web site to search for some information about some public companies.

“This is a giant leap for America’s 90 million investors toward tapping the full potential of the Internet to provide customized financial information,” said Cox. “This new full-text search capability will give investors and analysts instant access to the specific information they want.”

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