2020: The year in filings

For many years, the number of filings made to the SEC each year has been right around 650,000. Some years, it’s been a little more and others a bit less. But in 2020, the number of filings was significantly higher: 722,550 according to our friends at Kaleidoscope, who track this for us each year. That’s a pretty significant increase over the 651,621 filings made in 2019.

There’s no easy way to figure out what’s behind that big increase. But it’s probably a safe bet that Covid had something to do with it. One hint comes from the number of 8Ks — those non-scheduled filings that companies make to disclose something important to investors — that were filed in 2020: 72,283. That compares with 64,663 in 2019, a nearly 12% increase. Still, Covid-19 doesn’t explain all of that increase because there was a nearly 20% increase in filings in January 2020, when only a very few companies were mentioning Covid in their filings.

Speaking of Covid, Moderna, which is now a household name because of its vaccine development, was the first company to mention Covid-19 in its SEC filings, when it filed this 8-K on January 22. According to our friends at Sentieo, Covid-19 or Coronavirus was mentioned in 86,532 SEC filings last year.

As with prior years, Valentine’s Day remains the single busiest day for filings. It’s not uncommon for EDGAR to break under the weight of hundreds of filings being submitted after 4 pm on that day.

The largest 10-K filed in 2020 was this 1,221 filing made by Canopy Growth Corp. Who knew there could be that much to say about a publicly traded pot company? The second largest 10-K — weighing in at 1,147 pages — was filed by Sunnova Energy International.

The largest 10-Q filed in 2020 was this one filed by Blackstone Group in November, which was over 1,400 pages. Just to be clear, all of these filings are made large by the addition of various exhibits, some of which are hundreds of pages long. We should also note that counting pages is not an exact science and that different services — we used both Kaleidoscope and Sentieo here — came up with slightly different numbers when it came to page counts. In other words: your mileage may vary.

While we tend to focus on the largest 10-Ks, they’re not usually the largest filings. Indeed, this N-PX filed by Lincoln Variable Insurance Products Trust was the largest single filing in 2020, running nearly 19,000 — not a typo — pages!

Once again, it was no surprise that the big banks — we’re talking JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Morgan Stanley and similar ilk — filed the largest number of filings as a group.

Also not new: 2020 was a banner year for filing an 8-K after 4 pm on a Friday. Nearly 11% of all 8Ks filed last year were filed once the markets closed on a Friday. In the past, that number has been right around 9%.