What is your prospect research shop doing to prepare for the Morningstar/10K Wizard demise?
10K Wizard has been a staple resource for many prospect researchers over the years for information about publicly-held companies (and the people that run them). I thought it was a curious marriage when Morningstar bought the company in 2008, but as long as 10K was still running I didn’t really think much of it.
The service has always been so useful, and I suppose I’d taken it for granted, so it was quite a surprise when Morningstar announced that they planned to discontinue the service this summer, and my team and I started scrambling to find an alternative.
Since we in prospect development are a small market compared with financial services and corporate legal research teams that are the heavy users of products like 10K Wizard, I looked to them and related business intelligence (BI) researchers to see what they were planning to do.
Jean O’Grady at the Dewey B Strategic blog wrote a great article about this called “10K Wizard Bites the Dust. Morningstar Directs Customers to Intelligize. Will Intelligize Enter the Workflow Race?” She outlines the history behind 10K and its demise and provides some alternatives for researchers in the business intelligence realm.
I decided to do the same for prospect research (especially since we needed to come up with an alternative – fast – ourselves!). As far as I can tell, it boils down to these choices:
SOME MERELY EXPENSIVE AND OTHERS ASTRONOMICAL
Intelligize – the knighted successor to Morningstar. It’s built for companies concerned that they don’t screw up their SEC filing/reporting. Legal firms, accountants, and corporate compliance officers are their primary customers. (Read: companies with deep pockets. It’s not cheap.). If you have the budget, you may want to get a trial of this as well as…
Lexis Securities Mosaic – As you’ve already surmised by its name, Mosaic is owned by LexisNexis but is a separate subscription service. As with Intelligize, Mosaic is a product built primarily for lawyers and legal researchers in the securities and adjacent corporate practice areas. Other clients include compliance officers, corporate secretaries, analysts, and business journalists. Mosaic is a flat-fee, per-seat subscription service with an elegant interface and deep archives.
If you are a subscriber to LexisNexis for Development Professionals, you already have the Mosaic information at your fingertips. It’s not nearly as elegant as searching Mosaic directly, but we’ve been assured that all of the same depth of archived filings are there to be found. As I noted above, side-by-side trials are the best way to get a sense of what will work for you.
Bloomberg BNA – which I’m only going to mention as an alternative in passing. It appears to be a multi-functional, very powerful resource but, for us, subscribing would be like calling NASA to find out if you need to carry an umbrella tomorrow. There’s a lot there that we just didn’t need.
FREE AND/OR CHEAP
Edgar – the king of free SEC document searches. It’s kludgy and a time-sink, but you can’t beat the price and all of the info is there (if all you need is from the past 4 years).
BamSEC – Searching Bam is more elegant than Edgar, but there are limitations in the free version including locked/blurred features and the ability to access only the 5 most recent filings in each category. However, a low, low premium price tag unlocks many of the hidden features, making BamSEC very attractive for the budget-challenged.
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
Just because a resource is free doesn’t mean it’s free to use. It’s important not to be penny-wise and pound foolish. If it takes a researcher an extra 100 hours a year duct-taping and chewing gumming their way through a “free” resource, mightn’t it be cheaper to just go ahead and spend the $3k on a fee-based one and use that “found” time for something more productive? On the other hand, if you don’t do a lot of SEC document searching then maybe free is all you need.
If you know of any other resources I’ve missed here, please let us know.