What Is SEC Form N-CSR?

SEC Form N-CSR is a document that registered investment management companies must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), within 10 days of disseminating annual and semiannual reports to stockholders. Form N-CSR is a provision under Section 30 of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Key Takeaways

  • SEC Form N-CSR is a form that registered investment management companies must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), containing a host of company essentials.
  • Form N-CSR must be filed within 10 days after a company disseminates annual and semiannual reports to stockholders. 
  • Form N-CSR is a provision under Section 30 of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 

Understanding SEC Form N-CSR

Companies must file Form N-CSR electronically unless they file for a hardship exemption. The form typically includes the following information:

  • A copy of the report to stockholders
  • A copy of the firm's code of ethics
  • The name of the financial expert who oversees the firm's audit committee
  • The disclosure of principal accountant fees and services for the previous two fiscal years
  • The disclosure of listed registrants or reason for exemption from the audit committee
  • The firm's security holdings
  • The disclosure of proxy voting policies

SEC Form N-CSR and Annual and Semi-Annual Reports

Annual and semiannual reports associated with SEC Form N-CSR include the 10-K and 10-Q, respectively. The 10-K is a comprehensive summary of a company's performance that typically contains more detail than a traditional annual report. The 10-K has a particular focus on financial performance and risks, which, in theory, enables investors to make more informed decisions about buying and selling a corporation's stocks and bonds.

Broken down further, the 10-K includes five distinct sections:

  • An overview of the company’s core operations, including its products and services offerings
  • A breakdown of its revenue streams
  • Risk Factors outlining any risks the company currently faces, or could potentially face in the future--typically listed in order of importance
  • Selected Financial Data details specific financial information about the company over the last five years
  • Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, known as MD&A, which affords the company an opportunity to explain its business data from the previous fiscal year
  • Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, which includes the company’s audited financial statements, such as its income statement, balance sheets, and statement of cash flows (This also includes a letter from the company’s independent auditor, certifying the scope of their review.)

A10-Q includes much of the same information as a 10-K, but this report is filed on a quarterly basis, not annually.

There are two parts to a 10-Q filing. The first part contains relevant financial information for the period, including condensed financial statements, MD&A, disclosures regarding market risk, and internal controls. The second part contains any legal proceedings, unregistered sales of equity securities, the use of proceeds from the sale of unregistered sales of equity, defaults upon senior securities, and any other miscellaneous relevant exhibits.