A godsend to investors, EDGAR is the government's system for receiving and disseminating corporate filings electronically. Although known to friends and strangers alike by the name EDGAR, the system's full moniker is Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, and it is maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which since May 6, 1996 has required all domestic public companies to post their filings on EDGAR.
EDGAR is especially useful to small investors, who can use the Internet to gain fast, free access to corporate filings containing a treasure trove of information about corporate finances, executive compensation, legal proceedings and other matters. EDGAR includes the annual reports known as 10-Ks and the skimpier quarterlies known as 10-Qs, as well as proxy statements and mutual fund prospectuses. Filings are available via EDGAR 24 hours after they are made.