Frequently Asked Questions
Public companies, like Wal-Mart, Ford and Coca-Cola, are those that sell stock to investors. They are required to submit information to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), so they typically have more information available to researchers. Public companies are required to provide detailed financial statements and annual reports to stakeholders. You'll also find a lot of information from news organizations, investment analysts, market research firms, and publishing companies. Public company stock is openly traded, often on one of the large American stock exchanges (NASDAQ, NYSE). So, if you can identify a stock ticker symbol, the company is public.
Private companies, which do not sell stock to investors, are not required to provide information about their companies to anyone. As a result, they can be more difficult to research. If you find financial information, it is usually an estimate. Estimates are sometimes generated based on the type of industry and number of employees. The estimate could be very wrong! If the private company has competitors that are public, you have a better chance of finding some information on the company. Sometimes, all you will find are contact info and what they do.
Email one of the following with any questions you may have:
Chris Hansen, Chief Compliance Officer email@example.com (general questions)
Dusty Layton, Exec Dir, Office of Research Compliance & Assurance firstname.lastname@example.org (research-related)
Dr. Harold Pardue, Dean, Graduate School email@example.com (faculty-related)