What Is SEC Form N-4?

SEC Form N-4 is a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that must be submitted by all insurance company separate accounts organized as unit investment trusts offering variable annuity contracts. SEC Form N-4 is required under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 and is meant to provide investors with information about variable annuity contracts so they can determine whether to invest in them.

Key Takeaways

  • SEC Form N-4 is submitted by insurance companies offering variable annuities.
  • SEC Form N-4 is intended to help investors determine if they should invest in certain contracts.
  • Each part of SEC Form N-4 must have the required information filled in.

Understanding SEC Form N-4

Part A of SEC Form N-4, the prospectus, must contain clearly written information about the investment that the average investor, who may not have a specialized background in finance or law, can understand. Part A contains a general description of the registrant and a general description of variable annuity contracts as well as information about accumulation unit values, deductions, annuity period, death benefit, purchases and contract value, redemptions, taxes and legal proceedings.

Part B provides additional information that is not required to be part of the prospectus, but that may be valuable to certain investors, such as general information and history, underwriters and calculation of performance data.

Finally, Part C contains financial statements and exhibits, directors and officers of the depositor, number of contract owners and other required information.

Form N-4's primary purpose is regulatory in nature. Whereas many official reports can help financial analysts gather useful information that can be used in the security selection process, much of the content on Form N-4 is technical and necessary for legal and oversight purposes. Being a highly regulated industry, insurance entities often have to file many documents to maintain their good standing in the eyes of regulators and policymakers.