2019: The year in filings

January 6, 2020

Last year was pretty quiet here at footnoted as I dealt with some complicated personal stuff (mostly my mom being very sick) and recovering from my second cross-country move in less than six years.

Still, each January, we like to take a look at the prior year’s trends in filings and assess the year that was, so I decided to take a break from my extended break to look at the stats.

In 2019, there was a modest increase in the number of filings, when 651,621 filings were made to the SEC. That compares with 648,303 in 2018, which was the lowest number of filings since we began tracking. Just to put that into perspective, in 2007 — the year before the last stock market bubble burst — there were 750,000 filings made to the SEC.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years in looking at these stats: the busiest day remains Valentine’s Day (cue the cute music) when nearly 10,000 filings flood poor EDGAR. Many of those invariably come in after 4 pm, which often mucks up EDGAR’s works.

For the second time in a row, the largest single 10-K filed belonged to Entergy Corp., which filed this 530-page whopper. What’s surprising is that many of the big banks — whose filings used to routinely top 1,000 pages just a few years ago, seem to have “slimmed down”. JP Morgan Chase’s 10-K was a mere 311 pages and Bank of America’s was under 200. I would love some insight on what’s behind that if any of the corporate law folks who work on these filings care to share. Of course, keep in mind that this doesn’t include exhibits, which are often the main reason filings can get hefty.

Speaking of the banks, they continued to be responsible for the largest number of filings overall. JP Morgan Chase filed the most in 2019, followed by Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, and Barclay’s.

Also interesting was a decline in the number of 8-Ks filed. In 2019, that number was 64,663, compared with 67,580 in 2018.

All of these numbers are courtesy of Kaleidoscope, a newish SEC filings data site that comes from the guys behind 10KWizard, the service that I used for many years until Morningstar closed it and sold the business to Intelligize, which, in turn, was sold to Lexis Nexis.

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