2013: The year in numbers in SEC-land

January 6, 2014

There’s a new book that’s attracting a fair amount of attention these days for its attempt to make big data — a term used increasingly frequently in all walks of life — a bit more fun. Maybe it will even do for Big Data what Freakonomics did for the “dismal science”.

We thought about that as we dove into the trove of stats on SEC filings in 2013 that we asked the folks at Morningstar Document Research to compile for us. In 2013, there were 655,846 filings made to the SEC, a modest 2.5% uptick from the 640,017 in 2012. But beyond the sheer number of filings, was the size of some of the filings that were made last year.

Of course, since many of those filings are hundreds or even thousands of pages long, it gives a whole new meaning to big data. Take this 8,315 page behemoth filed by IShares Trust, which was the single largest filing made to the SEC last year. We’re sure that someone was tasked with reading that thing (not to mention proof-reading it), but it wasn’t going to be us. Lending Club Trust, was also unusually verbose last year: of the 10 largest filings made to the SEC in 2013, the peer to peer lending service was responsible for nine of them, weighing in at over 72,000 pages of text!

For the filings that we tend to pay closer attention to — 10Ks, 10Qs, proxy statements, comment letters and 8Ks — the stats were slightly less dizzying. The largest 10K filed last year, clocking in at 2,322 pages, was made by tiny School Specialty Corp. We don’t tend to pay attention to tiny companies like that. But two other companies on our radar — Coach Inc. and Neustar Inc — each filed 10Ks that were over 1,100 pages. For subscribers to our Pro product, we flagged nearly 1,500 filings in 2013.

Eastman Kodak Co. which emerged from bankruptcy in Sept. 2013, filed the largest 10Qs. This one, filed on April 29, weighed in at 3,210 pages. A second 10-Q filed on Nov. 12, 2013, after the company emerged from bankruptcy, was 2,483 pages.

As with years past, Valentine’s Day was the single busiest day for SEC filings: there were 10,364 filings made that day. SC 13Gs and amended 13Gs, primarily filed by large institutional holders, accounted for nearly half of those filings on Feb. 14. The second busiest day, once again, was Feb. 13 when 5,777 filings were made. Other busy days were April 30, when proxy statements for companies on a calendar year are due and Feb. 28, when 10Ks for companies on a calendar year are due.

Financial firms continued to dominate the filings: UBS AG was the single largest filer, filing over 5,073 items with the SEC; JP Morgan Chase was in second place with over 3,100 filings. Taken as a group, the 10 largest filers — all of them financial firms — were responsible for 24,210 filings.

There’s also our single favorite stat: the number of 8Ks that were filed after 4 pm on a Friday afternoon, which we lovingly call the “Friday Night Dump” (subscribers to footnotedPro can get a feed of Friday Night Dump posts). In 2013, nearly 9% of all 8Ks filed were made late on a Friday, roughly the same as it has been in prior years.

Talk about big data!

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Journalists who are interested in seeing all the numbers behind today’s story can contact Michelle directly for more details.

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