Many people talk about watching hedge funds through their 13F filings. A 13F filing is a quarterly report filed with the SEC by “institutional investment managers.” The reports include the name and number of the securities owned by the hedge fund. The term “institutional investment manager” means those managers who exercise discretion over $100 million or more in Section 13(f) securities. Typically a hedge fund attorney will help the manager file Form 13F.
A summary of Form 13F requirements from the SEC is below and can be found on the SEC’s website here.
Form 13F—Reports Filed by Institutional Investment Managers
Institutional investment managers who exercise investment discretion over $100 million or more in Section 13(f) securities must report their holdings on Form 13F with the SEC.
In general, an institutional investment manager is: (1) an entity that invests in, or buys and sells, securities for its own account; or (2) a person or an entity that exercises investment discretion over the account of any other person or entity. Institutional investment managers can include investment advisers, banks, insurance companies, broker-dealers, pension funds, and corporations. Section 13(f) securities generally include equity securities that trade on an exchange or are quoted on the Nasdaq National Market, some equity options and warrants, shares of closed-end investment companies, and some convertible debt securities. The shares of open-end investment companies (i.e., mutual funds) are not Section 13(f) securities.
Form 13F requires disclosure of the names of institutional investment managers, the names of the securities they manage and the class of securities, the CUSIP number, the number of shares owned, and the total market value of each security.
You can search for and retrieve Form 13F filings using the SEC’s EDGAR database. To find the filings of a particular money manager, use the “Companies & Other Filers” search under “General Purpose Searches” and enter the money manager’s name. To see all recently filed 13Fs, use the “Latest Filings” search function and enter “13F” in the “Form Type” box.
The securities that institutional investment managers must report on Form 13F are found on what is known as the Official List of Section 13(f) Securities. The Official List is published quarterly and is available for free on the SEC’s website. It is not available in paper copy format or on computer disk.
You can learn more about Form 13F filings, as well as obtain a copy of the Form and instructions, and the applicable statutory and regulatory provisions, by reading Frequently Asked Questions About Form 13F prepared by the SEC’s Division of Investment Management.