What Is SEC Form N-14AE?
- The obsolete SEC Form N-14AE has been replaced with SEC Form N-14.
- Form N-14 is used for required filings regarding open-end funds, such as mutual funds or hedge funds that can issue an unlimited number of shares.
- Any investor can find a wealth of information on public companies and investment funds in the EDGAR database maintained by the SEC.
Understanding SEC Form N-14AE
SEC Form N-14AE was created to satisfy SEC Rule 488, which governs the effective date for registration of securities by open-end management investment companies.
It was a statement required of open-end funds registering securities with automatic effectiveness under Rule 488. That rule was itself a consequence of Rule 145, which made the protections of the Securities Act of 1933 applicable to investors offered securities in previously excluded situations such as mergers and business combination transactions.
Rule 488 specifies standards for effective registration dates of securities issued in transactions under Rule 145.
The SEC announced in 2006 that it would be discontinuing SEC forms N-14AE and N-14AE/A and that businesses formerly required to file those forms could immediately begin filing under SEC forms N-14 and N-14/A, where space was available to make a registration statement under Rule 488.
Sections in a Registration Statement
The Securities Act of 1933 was a response to the stock market crash 1929. This highly consequential law stipulated, among other things, that every US company must file a registration statement with the SEC in advance of a public offering.
Every registration statement, of which SEC Form N-14AE was one type, consists of two sections.
- The prospectus, which must be made available to prospective investors. This contains detailed disclosures about the company's business, its assets, its management, its prospects, and any risks it is aware of that might affect the company's performance.
- A section that contains information that must be filed with the SEC but is not necessarily shared with investors.
The prospectus of an open-end fund includes information of interest to any investor in a fund, rather than a company. It describes the goals, strategies, risks, fees, and distribution policy of the fund.
The SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system contains millions of filings by companies and individuals. It can be accessed for free by any investor.
One of the best ways for an investor to evaluate a fund is to read the prospectus.
Accessing Registration Statements
The Securities and Exchange Commission maintains a database of SEC filings that is available to the general public for free. Known as EDGAR for Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System, it contains millions of filings by companies and individuals. In addition to company filings, the database includes information provided by mutual funds, money market funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), variable annuities, and individuals.
The easiest way for investors to access registration statements in the U.S. is through the SEC’s EDGAR online filing system. Because of the importance of timely information to effective investing, EDGAR gets needed information, including registration statements, into the hands of investors and analysts as quickly as possible.
That said, there is a learning curve when it comes to extracting information from EDGAR files. SEC filings on EDGAR have a consistent structure but can be difficult to skim for specific data points. The quarterly and annual reports issued by companies and funds contain much of the same information and are certainly presented in a more reader-friendly format.