SEC filings in 2015: a look back

January 6, 2016

At the start of each year, we like to take a deep breath and look back on how many SEC filings were filed last year.

First, the good news: the number of filings made to the SEC actually declined slightly last year to 662,936. That’s compared with 668,635 for 2014. It’s been about three years since we’ve seen the number of filings made actually decline. The numbers for 2015 look particularly good when you compare them to those in 2007 when just over 750,000 filings were made. Woo-hoo!

But that’s still a lot of filings to wade through, especially if you’re sloshing around in EDGAR (An interesting aside: our friend Ken Adams has much more colorful language to describe the circles of EDGAR-hell, which you can read here).

According to our own internal stats, we looked at about 3% of those filings (though keep in mind that as with prior years, over 1/3 are Forms 3,4,5, which we rarely pay close attention to). Another 8% are 13Ds, 13Gs, or 13Fs — other filings we don’t pay as much attention to. We published items (sometimes multiple flags on the same company or the same filing) roughly 20% of the time for subscribers to our Pro service.

In the past, we’ve asked the folks at Morningstar Document Research to pull these numbers. But with that service shutting down at the end of August, we asked Intelligize to run the numbers.

Here’s some other stats that caught our attention:

  • The number of 8Ks — a filing that we do tend to read pretty closely — pretty much held steady at just under 75,000 filed.
  • The number of 8Ks filed after 4 pm on a Friday — what we lovingly call the “Friday Night Dump” — also held steady at around 9% of all 8Ks filed in 2015.
  • Valentine’s Day — typically the single busiest day of the year for filings — fell on Saturday in 2015. Since the SEC is closed on Saturdays, that meant that the busiest day of the year in 2015 was Feb. 13, with nearly 8,000 filings made that day. A close second was Feb. 17, when the 13Fs and 13Gs were due.
  • The single largest 10-K (technically a 10-K/A) was filed by Health Net Inc. and weighed in at over 2,300 pages, including exhibits. That’s significantly heftier than the largest 10-K in 2014 — this nearly 2,000-page behemoth filed by Hertz Corp on March 19, 2014. Other companies with unusually hefty 10-Ks included Performance Sports Group Ltd. and Radius Health Inc.
  • Herbalife, a name that was the subject of lots of warring words in 2015 (see this Fortune piece, for example) filed the single-largest 10-Q at over 1,300 pages. It was the only 10-Q last year that was over 1,000 pages (including exhibits).
  • Given the large number of deals signed in 2015, there was a pretty big uptick in M&A related filings, which include S-4s, DEFM-14As and PREM14As.

We’ll continue to dig through the filings. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful year in 2016!


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

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