What Is SEC Form N-Q?

The term SEC Form N-Q refers to a document that registered management investment companies, such as mutual fund firms, must submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to disclose their complete portfolio holdings. The form is required as per sections of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. SEC Form N-Q must be filed twice during a company's fiscal year.

Key Takeaways

  • SEC Form N-Q is a mandatory filing required by the SEC for registered management investment companies, such as mutual fund firms.
  • It is used to disclose an investment company's complete portfolio holdings.
  • SEC Form N-Q must be filed no later than 60 days after the end of the first and third quarters of a company's fiscal year.
  • Small business investment companies and those that apply for and receive a hardship are exempt from filing the form.
  • The SEC replaced SEC Form N-Q with SEC Form N-PORT in order to receive more updated information from investment firms.

Understanding SEC Form N-Q

SEC Form N-Q is a mandatory filing required by the SEC, as outlined in Section 30(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The form is also called Quarterly Schedule of Portfolio Holdings of Registered Management Investment Company

All registered investment companies and trusts must file semiannual and annual reports with the SEC and the companies’ shareholders.  Mutual fund companies, though, are not required to mail their SEC Form N-Q reports directly to shareholders. SEC Form N-Q must be submitted electronically twice each year. These periods fall within the 60-day period after the end of the first and third quarters of the company's fiscal year. Companies that experience and file for a temporary or continuing hardship may be exempt from these requirements.

Investors interested in reviewing their investment company's holdings can search for their N-Q filings on Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR).

Companies are required to include the following information on SEC Form N-Q filings:

  • The name of the company
  • The company's complete mailing address
  • Individual holdings
  • Principal amount or number of shares of each holding
  • Fair value of each holding

Proponents of portfolio holding disclosure believe that SEC Form N-Q helps investors make better and more informed decisions about their personal investments. The SEC may also use the information provided on these filings to help formulate regulations, disclosure reviews, as well as roles in inspection, and policymaking.

Special Considerations

Small business investment companies (SBICs) are not required to file SEC Form N-Q. Instead, these firms must submit SEC Form N-5, which is also known as the Registration Statement of Small Business Investment Companies under The Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Company Act of 1940. 

A company must be registered under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 or have the approval of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to submit a license application in order to qualify for N-5 filings.

SEC Form N-Q vs. SEC Form N-PORT

The SEC adopted new and amended reporting requirements in 2016 that pertain to investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The updates are intended to modernize investment company reporting. One of the proposed changes is to eliminate SEC Form N-Q and replace it with SEC Form N-PORT for registered investment companies other than money market funds.

This new form provides the SEC with more up-to-date information about a fund’s portfolio holdings (not later than 30 days after the end of each month) along with further insights into how a portfolio manages risk, liquidity, and the use of derivatives.

Form N-Q was originally scheduled to be replaced on Aug. 1, 2019. That date was delayed to allow revisions to the new form. The delay also gave the investment industry a chance to become more informed and comfortable with the transition. The revised date for the rescission of Form N-Q was reported to be May 1, 2020. According to the SEC, companies that begin filing SEC Form N-PORT are no longer required to complete SEC Form N-Q.