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Open Access Business Resources: Global Corporate Filings

This guide is intended to provide the public with business research tools.

United States

U.S. EDGAR Filings

U.S. SEC EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System) ; 1996 - present

  • Required regulatory filings of U.S. domestic public company and foreign private issuers offering securities on U.S. exchanges from 1996 to the present
  • The two major stock exchanges in the U.S. are the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. See Investopedia for others.
  • Review company filed registration statements, prospectuses, proxy statements and other periodic reports such as the annual 10-K,  the quarterly 10-Q  and the 20-F for foreign issuers. 
  • Find out about a company’s strategic goals, expansion plans, financial performance, significant litigation and other major developments
  • For optimal use, review Researching Public Companies through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors 


Access to U.S. SEC filings are also available through Kresge's D&B Hoovers, Mergent Online, Bloomberg, and Intelligize


Business filings with the U.S. fifty state secretary offices. LLRX

  • Access to available business filings varies by state
  • Use to verify if a company is registered to do business in a state or review incorporation records
  • Filings requirements vary by state. Might provide additional info about private company ownership

Franchise Disclosure Statements

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that all franchises provide a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) so that the prospective franchisees understand the investment risks and obligations. A few large franchises are exempt from filing. 

This FTC Franchise Rule (16 CFR Parts 436 and 437)  requires the FDD to contain 23 specific items of information about the offered franchise, its officers, and other franchisees.  Required disclosure topics include:      

  • franchise’s litigation history, past and current franchisees and their contact information
  • any exclusive territory that comes with the franchise
  • assistance the franchiser provides franchisees
  • cost of purchasing and starting up a franchise
  • financial statements if the franchiser makes representations about the financial performance of franchise

For a summation, see Entrepreneur Magazine’s article on how to read a financial disclosure statement.

Twenty-one U.S. States have the authority to regulate franchises and a few of them offer access to the actual FDD filings:

Must know the exact legal franchise name to retrieve FDDs.  Consult the International Franchise Association’s identifier 

International

Countries and their securities exchange have different company financial disclosure requirements. To locate filings and documents:

EDINET Japan

  • Quarterly and annual Japanese company filings

Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)

  1. Search the company by ASX Code or company name and select the Time frame.
  2. Identify Annual Reports based on the description shown in the Headline column.

 London Stock Exchange

 Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx)

Locate HKEXnews -> Listed Company Information

 Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX)

Locate Securities -> Company Information -> Annual Reports & Related Documents

 Shanghai Stock Exchange (English)

 Shenzhen Stock Exchange

Locate Listings or Disclosure

Franchise Disclosures

To learn more about franchise operations, you can view the franchise disclosure document (FDD).  This is a document that is presented to prospective buyers of franchises in the pre-sale disclosure.  A few states make these publicly available:

Minnesota CARDS (Commerce Actions and Regulatory Documents Search) allows you to find FDD documents for no charge.

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions also allows you to find FDD documents.  Here is their main page.