13F Filing

What Is a 13F Filing?

6 min read

Have you heard of a 13F Filing? The United States Securities and Exchange Commission requires institutional investment managers who hold more than $100 million in asset, to file with the SEC. As a result, they list all equity assets under this management. When an institutional investment manager holds at least $100 million in assets under management, it reports its disclosure to the SEC; automatically revealing their ‘equity holdings’. Through the 13F filing, an investor provides insights regarding the ‘smart money’ they hold and what that money’s doing in the market. However, some say that the 13F form cannot be taken at face value.

The SEC necessitates that all hedge fund owners submit a report of the hedge funds they own. These are usually based on ‘long positions’ and other investments. And they’re sent to the SEC every quarter.

These reports, which are filed no more than 45 days after the end of every quarter, are recorded in 13F filings. It’s commonly known that the SEC is responsible for regulating the trading of stocks and bonds in the U.S. As a result, a 13F filing is done just to register and verify that.

Moreover, other than ‘long positions’, hedge funds owners are also required to post their ‘call and put options’, ‘convertible notes and ADRs’ in the 13F filing through the 13F form.

13F filings are mostly filed by institutional investment managers who are operating hedge funds on someone’s name. However, even if you’re a ‘foreign institutional manager’, you’ll have to file such a filing. And the limit for such a filing is $100 million.

Moreover, the securities that you report under a 13F filing are long positions of exchange traded stocks, shares of ETFs, shares of closed end investment companies and some convertible debt securities equity options and warrants. It’s also important to note that open-ended investment companies such as mutual funds aren’t to be reported in a 13F filing.

Requirements Of The 13F Form

The SEC’s Form 13F should be filed quarterly by the institutional investment managers who hold at least $100 million in asset under management.

The entire point of filing your assets under the 13F form is to ensure that the Congress is providing transparency on the holdings of the biggest investors in the country. It also ensures clarity on who is holding what and a brief and guide towards the limits of investing in the U.S.

What Are The Benefits Of A 13F Filing?

Most people wonder what the benefits of a 13F filing are. Well, first of all, a 13F filing shows the kind of strategy an investment strategist, who holds a hedge fund, utilizes.

This can give others a lot of ideas regarding the strategies they could adopt in their investments and investment decisions.

Furthermore, such filings show core long positions. This again gives investors a lot of ideas regarding which side to adopt in investments strategies as well.

Just remember that the market fluctuates. As a result, you’re long term investments may be a bit of a roller coaster. Especially if you’re trading options.

Options are wasting assets. So unless time is in your favor, you’ll lose on time decay.

13F filings clearly identify hedge funds particularities. Therefore, it give investors a lot of real insights about the areas they should explore. And any direction they should head in. A 13F filing is different than an S-1 filing.

Limitations of A 13F Filing

However, while there are benefits of filing a 13F filing, there are limitations too. Just like with any trading strategy. So make sure this is something you REALLY want to follow. What are these limitations?

One of the biggest problems with a 13F is that small investors wanting to replicate the strategies of bigger investors, may sometimes have problems with what the hedge funds report. They could have problems with what these funds are buying and selling by comparing different quarterly filings.  The 13F filing may also have some unreliable data.

Unreliable Data In 13F Filings

According to certain studies and the SEC as well, there’s been a lot of reporting errors in the filings by institutional investment managers.

Moreover, the SEC itself has acknowledged that these filings aren’t reliable. Why? Because no one at SEC itself analyzes the content in these filings for completeness and accuracy.

Which begs the question that if they’re not analyzed for accuracy, then why make them file the form? Seems like potential busy work?

So whatever the reason, it’s imperative to be aware that the data in there could be unreliable. So keep that in mind if you’re wanting to mirror the trades hedge funds are placing.

It Does Not Paint The Exact Picture

Another reported problem with 13F filings is that they present an incomplete picture. There are hedge funds that generate most of their money through short selling. They’re using long positions as hedges. Therefore, when reported, some of the information might not be reported properly. The difference may not make the filings exact; leading to discrepancy in data in the filings.

Reports Only Domestic Exchanges

The 13F only tracks activity which is conducted on the domestic exchanges. Except ADRs, 13Fs don’t show the fund’s holdings through foreign exchanges. Moreover, if there’s a fund that contains both domestic and international investments, the 13F filing will only show half of the investment portfolio.

As a result, 13Fs may not be able to present an acute picture. And for this reason, observers might just focus on funds that are fixated on domestic investments only.


To conclude then, the 13F form is required for the institutional investment managers to increase their public information regarding their securities holdings. The 13F filing is an integral part of the SEC EDGAR system and must be filed quarterly. Such a filing helps in making the system transparent and allows honesty which keeps the financial system moving in the right direction. It also ensures that healthy hedge fund managers have acquired their money through the right venues and measures.

Through the discourse, investor confidence will increase and confidence in the U.S. securities market will also increase.

Institutional investment managers are entities that invest in different exercises and securities over the account of another entity or person. The power in the fund is held by the institutional investment managers and thereby all of what they do is showcased in the 13F filing. 13F filing is a proper method of showcasing your assets and if you don’t do it, your hedge fund might not be approved by the SEC.  The minimum limit of filing a 13F filing is $100 million, which means an investor who has discretion over $100m in assets, should file a 13F filing.

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