What is a 13F Filing, and How Does it Help Investors?
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What is a 13F Filing, and How Does it Help Investors?

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How to Easily Find New Investment Possibilities and Ideas from the Geniuses by Analyzing 13F Filings, a Tool in Investors’ Toolbox.

Reviewed and Updated by Gabe Ross on December 11, 2023

Investors rely on various strategies and tools to make informed financial decisions. A 13F form can be one such research tool.

It offers a plethora of useful information, including information regarding the choices that major investors are making.  

TipRanks’ Hedge Fund pages present much of this information for hedge funds in a clear, easy-to-read format.

What is a Section 13F Security?

A 13F filing with the SEC can be viewed as a brief assessment of a fund manager’s portfolio holdings at the end of a quarter. Section 13(f) securities, meaning the securities for which a 13F filing must be placed, include all equity securities traded on a U.S. exchange, NASDAQ-quoted equities, equity options and warrants, stocks of closed-end asset managers, and specific convertible debt instruments. Open-end investment firms and foreign securities not listed on a national market are not considered Section 13(f) securities.

The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission’s website hosts a searchable database–called the EDGAR database–where one can search for 13(f) filings for specific firms.

Importance of 13F

Section 13(f) was introduced as a part of the Securities Acts Amendments of 1975 to create a complete portfolio of historical and current data regarding the investment activities of institutional investment managers. The objective of implementing these reporting requirements were: 

  1. To develop a consistent reporting standard and centralized database. 
  2. To increase the information available for assessing the effect, impact, and consequences of investment decisions on the securities markets.

Who must File Form 13F?

Institutional investment managers must file Form 13F if they are managing $100 million or more in 13(f) Securities. The $100 million limit applies to all accounts over which the investment manager has authority. An institutional investment manager is an individual or entity that purchases securities for either their own account or manages assets for the benefit of another individual or organization.

When is the 13F Required?

The need to file is activated if the investment manager exceeds $100 million in 13(f) securities on the last trading day of any month during that calendar year. Within 45 days of the year’s end, the investment manager must submit its first Form 13F filing for the quarter that concluded on December 31. Additionally, once the filing requirement has been established, it is in effect for a minimum of three successive calendar quarters (i.e., March 31, June 30, and September 30).

It is important to understand that even if the investment manager fails to pass the $100 million threshold by December 31, they must still submit Form 13F if they did so on the last trading day of any calendar month.

Advisors may discontinue submitting Form 13Fs if they do not reach the limit in a particular year. There is no filing for termination or withdrawal.

What Information Must be Included by Institutional Investment Managers on Form 13F?

Form 13F filings are required to include the following data:

  • The issuer name of each instrument covered by Section 13(f), which must be listed alphabetically
  • A description of the listed security class
  • The number of shares owned
  • The True Market Value of the Listed Securities at the conclusion of the Calendar Quarter

Do Hedge Funds Submit 13F Forms?

A hedge fund is a type of financial vehicle that gathers money from wealthy individuals and makes various investments. Hedge funds use sophisticated methods for managing risk and building portfolios.

According to SEC regulations, “institutional investment managers” must make SEC form 13F filings, and hedge funds come under this category. This implies that every fund that manages at least $100,000,000 in assets is legally compelled to submit its form every quarter.

Some of the most prominent hedge funds listed on 13F include: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, LP, and Catherine Wood’s Ark Investment Management, among others.

How Can Investors Profit from 13F Filings?

Investors could learn a lot by studying the investing portfolios of others, using the 13F as a tool to discover their investment holdings. For instance, they could keep a close eye on their favorite managers’ 13F filings to see how their holdings change from quarter to quarter, and whether it signifies a change in strategy. Investors can find this information on TipRanks’ Hedge Fund pages.

For example, when we study the portfolio of Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, LP, we can learn about his investment strategies. In the third quarter of 2022, we see that he made significant investments in the Consumer staples (28.71%) and Finance (21.55%) sectors. This particular investment strategy followed by the hedge fund may help investors to create a Sector-Balanced Portfolio for themselves.

In addition, each stock has its own Hedge Fund page. Investors might discover inspiration for their investments by reviewing 13Fs to see which stocks some of the more successful hedge fund managers have bought, sold, and held. Noting strong hedge fund buying or selling activity on a stock helps individual investors evaluate a stock.

Where will you discover your next fantastic investing concept? You can find this by delving deeper into the 13F, as reported by TipRanks.

Are There Limitations to the Information on 13F Forms?

Reviewing 13F form’s do have a specific set of limitations. Because all 13Fs file 45 days after the start of a new quarter, this means that some of the data might be outdated by the time it is made public. The 13F form’s value for your trading and decision-making is thus still constrained by the lag between a fund manager’s decisions and the trades that appears in the report. Also, many funds wait until the conclusion of this time frame to keep their investment strategy a secret from rival funds and the general public.

Additionally, the 13F form might not provide you with a complete picture of a funds’ decision-making. Funds are only required to declare long holdings, put and call options, American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), and convertible notes. Since some funds only employ long holdings as hedges and instead derive most of their earnings from short sales, this might present an incomplete and even deceptive picture. 

Final Thoughts 

The 13F filings are a fantastic place to start finding investment ideas. They are simple to obtain and the information they include is easily accessible. It is an important component of the puzzle that reveals the investing philosophy of successful investors. This information should make it easier for investors to make better use of 13F shareholder data, comprehend their present shareholder base, and plan for future shareholder diversification.

How to Track Hedge Funds with Tipranks 

TipRanks, the most preferred stock research app, keeps track of thousands of hedge funds with our Top Hedge Fund Managers tool. The performance, strategy, net asset value, regional focus, and other specifics of the various hedge funds are covered in depth. Before it is added to our platform, all of our data is checked and confirmed, guaranteeing that you have access to reliable information. Many of thesefund managers are famous in the world of investing. 

Additionally, TipRanks enables you to track the purchases and sales of top-performing hedge funds as well as regular investors. With the aid of the Smart Score tool, you may also short-list companies based on their ability to outperform the market. 

Learn money management, and use data-driven stock insights with TipRanks



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