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What is the SEC NSAR-A form?

Form SEC NSAR-A was a semi-annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that recorded the financial information of investment management companies at the end of their first six months of fiscal year (FY) as part of their N – SAR form filing requirement. The form was discontinued in 2018 and replaced by the N-CEN form.

Key points to remember:

  • The SEC Form NSAR-A was a semi-annual filing with the SEC that recorded the financial information of investment management companies at the end of the first six months of their fiscal year.
  • The form included financial information such as stock sales, portfolio turnover rate and other data included in the company’s shareholder reports.
  • In 2018, the SEC NSAR-A form was replaced by the N-CEN form.

Understanding the SEC NSAR-A Form

The N-SAR was specific to registered investment management companies, requiring them to disclose financial information, such as share sales and portfolio turnover rate, included in the company’s annual or semi-annual reports to shareholders.

The SEC Form NSAR-A and all its related filings were covered by Section 30 of the Investment Companies Act of 1940 and Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Securities Exchanges Act of 1934, which each require investment companies and trusts to file semi-annual and annual returns with the SEC.

In addition to financial information, the form also provided details of an investment management firm’s management, advisors, underwriters, and affiliations. The form was instituted to protect investors by providing basic information so they can choose a company they trust for their investments.

Form N-SAR and its associated documents are no longer required to be filed by investment firms, although the SEC has accepted Form N-SARs and amendments to Form N-SARs previously filed through June 1, 2019.

SEC Form NSAR-A versus SEC Form N-CEN

The SEC N-CEN form has been introduced to modernize the reporting of investment companies. While it contains many of the same items present in the SEC NSAR-A form, it has also replaced or eliminated obsolete items found in the old form with more relevant items. Many of the changes have been made to reflect current needs, including information regarding securities lending and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Another notable change was the period covered. The SEC N-CEN form must be filed annually, rather than every six months, and submitted within 75 days of the end of the fund’s financial year.

All registered investment firms are required to file the new N-CEN document in XML (Extensible Markup Language) format. However, as an alternative, an online form that can be entered manually has also been made available on the SEC’s Electronic Document Collection, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system.

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