Form D Proposed Changes Offer a Ray of Hope for an Open EDGAR

September 12th, 2007

The SEC has proposed to mandate electronic filing of Form D (among other changes), used to document securities offerings. These filings have been a major pain in the neck through my career, so I am definitely in favor of anything that makes the process simpler.

I am even more excited by the apparent recognition on the part of the SEC that people actually want to see the data that gets reported. It gives me hope that EDGAR will one day open up to search bots as well. Public companies file all of their required reports on the EDGAR system so there is an enormous wealth of information. EDGAR has only the most rudimentary of search features, though. Moreover, EDGAR turns away search bots from all the major search engines.

Private companies have stepped in and (presumably) pay the SEC for acess to the data. They then charge users to perform sophisticated searches.

This is bad practice. The SEC requires filings in order to inform the public. It should be free and easily accessible. I am hopeful that the Form D database will give the SEC the feedback it needs to realize that EDGAR should be open and searchable.

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