SEC Filings For Humans

SEC Filings For Humans

SEC Filings for Humans by David Merkel, CFA of Aleph Blog

I would carry around a 3.5? floppy disk in my briefcase while I worked in center city Philadelphia.  The years were 1994-96, and getting data over the internet was still in its infancy.  Even Bloomberg terminals did not yet have data from EDGAR.

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If I was efficient with my actuarial work, I would occasionally wave bye to my colleagues early, and walk over to the Philadelphia Public Library to use the electronic resources they had for analyzing stocks.  I would find articles on various stocks that I had interest in, and I would save them to the floppy disk for later review.  After a while, I discovered EDGAR which had the required data that companies would file with the SEC.  Now there was more data to analyze.

I’m not sure when, but eventually the SEC set up its own website for EDGAR.  And a great website it is — I probably use it twice a day at least.  But could it be better?

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I sometimes say that I have the best readers in the world, and this is a case where a reader tipped me off to a website that has taken EDGAR data to a whole new level.


There is a lot at this site, and it is the result of a lot of open source software work.

I can’t fully do justice to all that this site does, but let me try to describe it through a series of questions.  Do you want to:

  • Correlate CUSIPs and Tickers?
  • See a database of investment advisors?
  • See a database of Private Funds?
  • Get a list of all debt securities with CUSIPs?
  • See a list of all mutual funds?
  • Analyze public companies by sector, state, etc?
  • Get a graphical view of Apple, or any other company, with respect to SEC filings vs stock price, and many other criteria.  [Financials, Insider Trading, Management, word use in SEC Filings with frequency over time, etc.
  • Analyze insider trading by company?
  • Look at private offerings of stock?  And by industry?
  • Look at securities offerings as a group?
  • Search through filings easily subdivided by filers and filings type?

And much much more…  I found amusing the pages that showed filings plotted against stock price over time, and I decided to look at Tower Group.  My, but how the then President, Chairman & CEO, sold stock as things were falling apart in September 2013.

I will be using this site in the future.  It takes EDGAR to a new level by stratifying data in a wide number of ways, and correlates it with a variety of external data.  Very useful, and I offer my thanks to those who created it.

SEC filings


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David J. Merkel, CFA, FSA — 2010-present, I am working on setting up my own equity asset management shop, tentatively called Aleph Investments. It is possible that I might do a joint venture with someone else if we can do more together than separately. From 2008-2010, I was the Chief Economist and Director of Research of Finacorp Securities. I did a many things for Finacorp, mainly research and analysis on a wide variety of fixed income and equity securities, and trading strategies. Until 2007, I was a senior investment analyst at Hovde Capital, responsible for analysis and valuation of investment opportunities for the FIP funds, particularly of companies in the insurance industry. I also managed the internal profit sharing and charitable endowment monies of the firm. From 2003-2007, I was a leading commentator at the investment website Back in 2003, after several years of correspondence, James Cramer invited me to write for the site, and I wrote for RealMoney on equity and bond portfolio management, macroeconomics, derivatives, quantitative strategies, insurance issues, corporate governance, etc. My specialty is looking at the interlinkages in the markets in order to understand individual markets better. I no longer contribute to RealMoney; I scaled it back because my work duties have gotten larger, and I began this blog to develop a distinct voice with a wider distribution. After three-plus year of operation, I believe I have achieved that. Prior to joining Hovde in 2003, I managed corporate bonds for Dwight Asset Management. In 1998, I joined the Mount Washington Investment Group as the Mortgage Bond and Asset Liability manager after working with Provident Mutual, AIG and Pacific Standard Life. My background as a life actuary has given me a different perspective on investing. How do you earn money without taking undue risk? How do you convey ideas about investing while showing a proper level of uncertainty on the likelihood of success? How do the various markets fit together, telling us us a broader story than any single piece? These are the themes that I will deal with in this blog. I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University. In my spare time, I take care of our eight children with my wonderful wife Ruth.
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