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To invest wisely and avoid investment scams, research each investment opportunity thoroughly and ask questions. If you'd like to learn more about the SEC's registration and reporting requirements, read Q&A: Small Business and the SEC.  

You can get corporate reports from the following sources:  

  • The SEC  You can find out whether a company files reports by using the SEC's database known as EDGAR. For companies that do not file on EDGAR, you can contact the SEC at:  

Office of Public Reference
450 5th Street, NW, Room 1300
Washington, D.C. 20549-0102
phone: (202) 551-8090
fax: (202) 628-9001
e-mail:
publicinfo@sec.gov 

  • The company  Ask the company if it is registered with the SEC and files reports with us. That information may be listed on its Web site.   

Other Types of Information 

To find out whether a company has been cleared to sell its securities in a particular state and whether it is in good standing, you can contact the following:  

  • Your state securities regulator  Contact the North American Securities Administrators Association to get the name and phone number of your state securities regulator to see if the company has been cleared to sell securities in your state.   
  • The Secretary of State where the company is incorporated  You can find out whether the company is a corporation in good standing and has filed annual reports with the state through the secretary of state where the company is incorporated. Click here to connect to The National Association of Secretaries of State's Web site for a list of most secretaries of state.  

You can find general financial information about companies from reference books and commercial databases. The SEC cannot recommend or endorse any particular research firm, its personnel, or its products. But there are a number of resources you may consult:  

  • Bloomberg News Service and Lexis/Nexis provide news stories about a company. Dun & Bradstreet, Moody's, Hoover's Profiles, and Standard & Poor's Corporate Profiles provide financial data about companies. These and other sources are available in many libraries or law and business school libraries.   

 

Mutual Funds 

 

Over the past decade, American investors increasingly have turned to mutual funds to save for retirement and other financial goals. Mutual funds can offer the advantages of diversification and professional management. But, as with other investment choices, investing in mutual funds involves risk. And fees and taxes will diminish a fund's returns. It pays to understand both the upsides and the downsides of mutual fund investing and how to choose products that match your goals and tolerance for risk. 

This brochure explains the basics of mutual fund investing — how mutual funds work, what factors to consider before investing, and how to avoid common pitfalls. 

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