|The SEC “pushes” new Filings in real-time to subscribers and websites, such as ours, through their PDS system. The SEC’s EDGAR and PDS systems have always been run by one or more small private companies (currently Attain for the PDS) on a contract basis independently from the SEC website itself, which is run internally by SEC staff. Prior to 2015, the Filings flow operated in this manner:|
|SEC Contractor(s)||SEC Website|
|New Filings|| ⇒ EDGAR ⇒ PDS ⇒ ||Subscribers (||www.sec.gov||, www.secinfo.com, et al.) ⇒ The Public|
|As such, each subscriber would receive the Filings from the PDS system and do their own processing of them prior to the public being able to view the Filings. In the case of the SEC website, its processing of a Filing has always taken about a whole minute on average (really!), depending on the type and size of the Filing, between when the EDGAR system “accepts” a Filing and when the Filing shows up via ‘www.sec.gov’ for public viewing. Further slowing public access to the Filings, the SEC website uses yet another contractor for security and scaling purposes (Akamai Technologies, who in turn uses Amazon Web Services) to receive the Filings and deliver them to the public, so that the public never really “touches” the SEC’s Web servers. This obviously gave quicker subscribers, such as us and other institutional ones, an advantage over the public in terms of more-timely access to the information in Filings. Someone in the public finally noticed this in 2014 and the resulting public outcry forced Congress to have the SEC change this situation, whereby the slower SEC website no longer functions as a peer to other subscribers of the PDS feed. As currently stated on the SEC website, the PDS system “was updated to reflect modifications to the EDGAR system to ensure that EDGAR filings are available to the public on the SEC website before such filings are made available to the public dissemination system [sic] (PDS).” The new Filings flow now operates in essentially this fashion: [ see Filings Flowchart below ]|
|New Filings|| ⇒ ||EDGAR|| ⇒ ||www.sec.gov|| ⇒ ||The Public|| ⇒ ||PDS|| ⇒ ||Subscribers (www.secinfo.com, et al.)|
We at SEC Info saw this as an opportunity to offer to PDS subscribers something closer to the way it used to be. We modified our system to “ping” the SEC website 3-7 times per second for new Filings (the SEC permits this), which allows us to then “pull” new Filings faster (asynchronously, on a multi-threaded basis) than waiting for the delayed communication from the SEC website back to the PDS system after a Filing is publicly viewable and then pushed out by the PDS system to subscribers. Furthermore, the PDS system has always been inherently “slow,” as we have been told that the Filings are pushed out to subscribers serially (non-asynchronously) in random order, to not give any one PDS subscriber a systematic time advantage over another. In contrast, our system now works like this, in parallel to the new delayed PDS system, but quicker:
|New Filings ⇒ EDGAR ⇒ ||www.sec.gov ⇒ The Public ⇒ PDS ⇒ Subscribers of the SEC’s “push” PDS|
|[ see Option 1 below ]||www.sec.gov ⇔ www.secinfo.com ⇒ Subscribers of our “push” Filings Feed|
|[ see Option 2 below ]||www.sec.gov ⇔ Subscribers using our “pull” Filings Feed software|
Therefore, users of our website can see new Filings and receive e-mailed new-Filing notifications within seconds of their appearance on the SEC website, and we can deliver to subscribers of our EDGAR Filings Feed service what we believe is a better (faster and cheaper) service than the PDS. Because we are pulling the Filings immediately, at the rate of about one second per 2-10 MBs of a Filing’s size, instead of waiting for them to be pushed to us, we have most Filings within 1-2 seconds (in the same second for small ones!) of when they become publicly viewable. Since we’re querying the SEC website for new Filings 3-7 times per second, and the PDS system isn’t supposed to transmit them to subscribers until the public (including us) can get them, then the new Congressionally-mandated Filings flow would be “broken” if the PDS system pushed a Filing to subscribers before we had it, by definition. Having dealt with SEC Filings for over 20 years, we can further guarantee that the Filings we deliver are an exact match (down to the byte) to those available on the SEC website and from the PDS system. Additionally, we can include the time stamp (down to the second) from our extensive database that each Filing became publicly viewable on the SEC website, a data item that no one else has, including the SEC (because they lose that metadata information when they rebuild their website every few years).
We offer three ways that new Filings can be delivered to subscribers of our EDGAR Filings Feed service:
| • Option 1: Push to you... ||We can push the Filings to you, just as the PDS system does, but in the same second that we pull each from the SEC. The easiest way is by using the FTP protocol. Also, since we have the Filings before pushing them to you, we can do specialized processing of them, such as normalizing the binary content to make it easier for you to parse them, or adding time stamps metadata to them (such as when a Filing was placed on the SEC website or when it was first publicly viewable) or filtering out Filings you’re not interested in. Customized services such as these are not available from the PDS, because the SEC does not allow their PDS contractor to offer any. Without filtering, 2-4 GBs of Filings content are filed on an average day, and 12-14 GBs on high-volume days. To ensure that you receive all Filings, our end-of-day processing finds other Filings (mostly low-priority delayed-release ones) that got onto the SEC website outside of their real-time new-Filings subsystem, so they will be sent to you the second we have them for our own website. With Option 1, we keep a one-week backup of all Filings pushed to you, in case your server goes down and you don’t receive all Filings we attempt to push.|
| • Option 2: Pull from SEC... ||We can have you run the same software that we wrote and run to pull the real-time new Filings from the SEC. It queries the SEC website’s new-Filings subsystem that tracks the most-recent Filings filed, so it retrieves 100% of the Filings that flow through that subsystem. They represent 99±% of all Filings, since that subsystem doesn’t report the low-priority delayed-release ones (such as SEC Filing-deletion notices). Our software runs only on Windows. Having coded parts of Windows for Microsoft as Finnegan O’Malley & Company Inc. (our software development company), we’re a Windows shop, and we can tell you how to see Fran Finnegan’s (owner of SEC Info) name hidden in every version from Windows 95 through Windows 10.|
| • Option 3: Options 1 & 2... ||You can get the best features of both Options 1 and 2, plus redundancy. For backup purposes, this is like buying both a primary feed and a secondary feed from the PDS, but we price it cheaper than buying a single feed from the PDS. With Option 3, you can use Option 1 to have us push Filings to one server (running Windows or another OS) and use Option 2 to pull Filings to a different server (running Windows). The redundancy is attained by having two sites (ours, pushing Filings to you, and yours, pulling Filings from the SEC) and optionally by you having two Filings-receiving servers. For over 20 years, our website has been 100% up, except when going down on four weekends when we switched between major Internet data centers in Silicon Valley and once when San Francisco lost power and the backup generators in our computer center here (pictured under Background) failed to start !|
|Options Comparison:|| || ||Quickness of Receiving Filings|| ||Filings Received|| ||Time Stamps|
|Slow, because it’s designed to be||100%||EDGAR Acceptance|
|Fast, because of fewer server hops||100%||Two more are added|
|Faster, because you’re pulling them||99±%||Two more are added|
|Fastest, because of the redundancy||100%||Two more are added|
In terms of pricing, we can provide Option 1 or 2 service to you for 2/3rds the price that the PDS charges for a single feed, saving you $7,096 per year (2018 pricing). We can provide Option 3 redundant service to you for 2/3rds the price that the PDS charges for both primary and secondary feeds, saving you $9,488 per year (2018 pricing). And our Option 3 redundant-feed price is lower than the PDS’s non-redundant single-feed price!
If price is not an issue and you’re thinking of using the more-expensive SEC PDS contractor, please be aware that there’s nothing proprietary (they didn’t write the software) nor “official” (they’re not the SEC) about them, because they’re just a government contractor in Washington. They were simply the winning bidder in the last contracting cycle to manage the off-the-shelf software (FASTCopy) that the PDS uses, and there have been a number of them since EDGAR was created (TRW, Systems And Information Technology Group, Digital Island, Keane Federal Systems, NTT Data, Attain). The SEC allows them to directly charge subscribers for their PDS feed, to get a better bid from them to run the PDS system. They’re not selling you anything different than us.
If our lower price is still an issue and you find another Filings-feed supplier (there used to be some out there), they would be offering you what is the riskiest and slowest possible way to receive real-time new Filings. That’s because they would be operating as a “PDS reseller,” meaning that they would be inserting themselves between the PDS (or another PDS reseller!) and you, doing exactly what the PDS does software-wise:
|New Filings ⇒ EDGAR ⇒ ||www.sec.gov ⇒ The Public ⇒ PDS ⇒ PDS reseller(s) ⇒ Subscriber (you)|
|Since that is risky (multiple points of possible failure) and slow (multiple identical delaying server hops), the only reason you would use them is because of their price. If you show us their quote, we’ll provide a better service for 2/3rds of their price (or, if theirs is below ours, a negotiated price lower than theirs), because...|
We are the lowest-cost provider!
If interested in subscribing to our EDGAR Filings Feed service, please contact us via our Help page.
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