What Is SEC Form S-6?

SEC Form S-6 is a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which unit investment trusts use to register securities they issue.

Key Takeaways

  • SEC Form S-6 is a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which unit investment trusts use to register securities they issue.
  • The Securities Exchange Act of 1933, often referred to as the "truth in securities" law, requires that the SEC Form S-6, providing essential facts, be filed to disclose important information upon registration of a company's securities.
  • The SEC maintains a comprehensive list of all recent securities registered by these unit investment trusts, which in one month can receive more than one hundred SEC Form S-6 filings.
  • The SEC Form S-6 goes into outlining in detail the elements of the security, including elements such as the fee table, statement of net assets, schedule of investments, income and capital distributions, and rights of unitholders, among other information.

Understanding the SEC Form S-6

SEC Form S-6 is also known as the Registration Statement under the Securities Exchange Act of 1933 for unit investment trusts (UITs). (Form N-8B-2 is for UITs registered under the 1940 Securities Exchange Act.) Since unit investment trusts offer a fixed portfolio to investors, typically including the standard stocks and bonds, for a specific period of time, all securities must be registered in order for the SEC to have a complete overview of the investment and securities market. 

The Securities Exchange Act of 1933, often referred to as the "truth in securities" law, requires that these registration forms, providing essential facts, are filed to disclose important information upon registration of a company's securities. SEC Form S-6 helps the SEC achieve the objectives of this act—requiring investors to receive significant information regarding securities offered and to prohibit fraud in the sale of the offered securities.

The form stands at a simple five pages in length, available on the SEC website.

Example of an SEC Form S-6 Filing

The Securities and Exchange Commission maintains a comprehensive list of all recent securities registered by these UITs, which requires one for each kind registered. In one month alone, anywhere from fifty to more than one hundred SEC Form S-6's can be filed. For example, in September of 2020, there were 119 SEC Form S-6's filed. These included multiple by First Trust Portfolios L.P., Invesco Unit Trusts, Guggenheim Defined Portfolios, and other unit investment trusts.

For example, on Oct. 7, 2020, First Trust Portfolios L.P. filed an SEC Form S-6 to register FT 8993, which consists of a "single portfolio known as FTP Innovative Technology Portfolio Series," which seeks above-average capital appreciation. In the form, First Trust outlines in detail the elements of the security, including the following elements:

  • Fee table
  • Statement of net assets
  • Schedule of investments
  • Information about the overall series
  • Portfolio
  • Risk factors
  • Public offering
  • Distribution of units
  • Expenses and charges
  • Tax status
  • Rights of unitholders
  • Income and capital distributions
  • Information on the sponsor, trustee, and evaluator