Run Edgar Run: SEC Dissemination in a High-Frequency World
Posted: 14 Sep 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2017
We describe the process through which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) makes filings “publicly available.” For a sample of Form 4 (insider trade) filings, we show that, during the period we examine, the majority of filings are available to paying subscribers of the SEC's public dissemination system (PDS) feed before they are posted to the EDGAR website, and so provide subscribers and their clients with a private advantage. We show that this advantage translates into an economically significant trading advantage, and prices, volumes, and spreads respond to the news contained in filings beginning around 30 seconds before public posting. These findings indicate that the SEC dissemination process does not always provide a level playing field and that the meaning of publicly available information in capital markets is no longer simple or obvious. In response to our study, the SEC launched an investigation and agreed to eliminate the PDS timing advantage.
Keywords: Event Study; Insider Trading; High-Frequency Trading (HFT);EDGAR; SEC Dissemination; SEC Flings
JEL Classification: G14; G28; M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation