DEFINITION of 'Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval - EDGAR'

The electronic filing system created by the Securities and Exchange Commission for the purpose of increasing efficiency and accessibility to corporate filings. This system is used by all publicly traded companies when submitting required documents to the SEC. Corporate documents are time sensitive, and the creation of EDGAR has greatly decreased the time it takes for corporate documents to become publicly available.

BREAKING DOWN 'Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval - EDGAR'

Corporate documents filed with the SEC through EDGAR include annual and quarterly statements, information regarding the holdings of institutional investors and many other forms. These filings include some of the most important information used by investors and analysts.

A significant drawback of this system is that the filings are highly stripped down and often difficult to read compared to annual reports received by shareholders. All the information is there, but in what is essentially one giant text file. All of the filings made through EDGAR are available to download or view for free.

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