The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that it has released an online tool to help companies calculate registration fees for certain form submissions to its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system (EDGAR), the SEC’s electronic database of financial reports and other filings. 

The Registration Fee Estimator tool, which is designed to improve the accuracy of fee calculations and minimize the need for corrections, covers the most common filings companies use to register IPOs, debt offerings, asset-backed securities, closed-end mutual funds, limited partnerships and small-business investment companies.

Future versions of the tool are expected to feature additional types of filings, including those filed annually by investment companies, the SEC says.

The tool prompts users to enter data based on the type of filing and the applicable fee rules and provides suggestions for completing required fee tables based on the data entered.  

While the tool will help filers estimate filing fees and provide general guidance on completing the related fee tables, the SEC’s Office of Financial Management reminds users that “the tool should not be relied upon as an official SEC calculation or verification of these filing fees.”

Filers will remain responsible for paying all required fees and accurately including all required information in their filings, the agency states.

SEC Commissioner Kara Stein said at the SEC Speaks conference in Washington last February that while technology now makes “it possible to meet the needs of different types of investors at different points in time” and that “in a data-centric world of nanoseconds, it’s surprising that the Commission’s disclosure regime hasn’t changed all that much.”

Stein said that the agency’s goal “should be leveraging data to enhance disclosure and provide greater transparency,” adding that EDGAR, which “brought about monumental change to how investors obtain information on companies” and allows paper documents to be accessed via electronic documents over the internet, hasn’t changed much since being launched in 1995.

“While our IT staff has made important updates, EDGAR has not kept pace with technological advances,” Stein said.

Going forward, she continued “we should be thinking broadly about new and creative ways to make the information contained in the filings more accessible to investors. In short, modernizing this critical disclosure portal should be a top priority to provide benefits to both companies who file and investors who get their information from the filings.”

— Check out SEC Enforcement: Phony Hedge Fund Manager Charged With Duping Small Businesses Out of $4M on ThinkAdvisor.