Morningstar: Corporate Disclosures Gone Wild!

The Securities and Exchange Commission‘s Edgar database (Edgar stands for “Electronic Data-Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) keeps track of thousands of corporate disclosures every year. While the database is massive, Morningstar Document Research has compiled some statistics for the first six months of 2011, showing that filings are up 5% from the same time period last year to 375,909. Additionally, the biggest filings are getting longer, with the top 20 filings in the first half of 2011 totaling 56,571 pages compared to the first half of 2010, in which the top 20 filings totaled 52,514 pages, a difference of 4,057, almost 8%.

According to Morningstar’s (NASDAQ:MORN) report, financial firms like BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), Barclays (NYSE:BCS), FMR, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) are the most prolific companies filing with the SEC. The above are all in the top 5, with BlackRock taking the top spot with 2,363 filings, roughly 18 for every weekday of the year so far. Three other financial firms also made up the top 10: Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Other stand out companies include International Speedway (NASDAQ:ISCA), LendingClub Corp., and Prosper Marketplace, in terms of number of filings.

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Page-counts of filings have also grown in the last year,with the two longest filings so far in 2011 coming from Verenium (NASDAQ:VRNM) and Novelis (NVL), filing a 6,280-page document and over 4,000-page document, respectively.  Last year’s two longest filings came from Janus Investment Fund, which turned in a 3,763 page filing, and Allied Waste Industries (AW) which turned in a 3,592 page filing. Other companies responsible for wordy filings are BrightSource Energy, Bluestream Brands, First Asia Holdings Ltd. (PINK:FAHLF), and Northport Network Systems (PINK:NNWS). Morningstar’s report says that, while financial firms tend to account for the largest number of filings, the higher page counts can often belong to smaller companies.