Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Directory of Obsolete Securities

This 2082 page tome is exactly what the title says--it is completely devoted to listings of all known obsolete securities. We had actually cancelled this as a standing order several years ago, but then got requests for it, and also questions through Statewide Reference asking for this type of information.

The price for the 2008 edition is $695. However, last year I got a 2006 edition (one year old at the time) for $495. This year I discovered that I could get a 2007 edition through Amazon used books for $365.

The entries are arranged alphabetically by the security name and include the name and such informtion as mergers, acquisitions, name changes, reorganization, liquidation, recapitalization, etc. (where appropriate), all with dates.

Several companies such as Orbis and Bloomberg offer this information online, but, of course, not for free. Newark Public does not have this directory, so we cannot call them for answers to these questions.

So, here are the options: new 2008, used 2007 for a little over half the price, or skip it entirely. Do we get enough call for this type of information to warrant either price?

9 comments:

Romina said...

I used this quite a bit with statewide and found it be a great source. I have rarely had to use it on the desk, but since Newark does not own it, we should have it in our collection. Don't see the need for getting the newer edition at double the price, but vote to buy the 2007.

Cynthia said...

This is a big KEEP IT from me. Statewide is the obvious choice, but I have used it several times on the desk. Finding the value, name, and/or what happened to an old stock certificate found in an attic or needed for an estate valuation is only going to happen using this resource.

That said, you do not need the newest edition. In fact, I would say buy it used every other year. SEC keeps a minimum of two years worth of company filing materials on www.sec.gov. Any US stock certificate or public company that was around in 2006 or 2007 will have all the documentation you need on this web page. Prices two years old can also be found using Factiva and/or Yahoo.....

Kristin said...

I agree - keep it, and Cynthia's info regarding frequency makes complete sense.

Catherine Harper said...

Most times I've used this, it's been to answer a question about the value--or lack of value--of a very old stock certificate. And that’s what it's great for. As Cynthia says, we have ample resources for finding information on business failures, name changes and takeovers that have occurred within the past 10-20 years. I agree that having the most up to date version isn't necessary. Even a 5-year-old edition would probably suffice.

While we're on the subject of stocks, though--any chance we could get a price for Capital Changes Reporter, and arrange for a trial if it isn’t prohibitive? (Thanks for the AASC trial, by the way.) I’m not sure how well it does with the long defunct businesses, but it does cover the same kinds of corporate events as DOS. What’s more, it lists stock splits, stock dividends and other events that affect stock basis—critical information for people filling out the dreaded Schedule D, especially those who have held stocks for long periods of time. The only other sources I’ve found (that we have access to) for stock split and dividend info only go back a maximum of ten years, and trying to piece together a complete history of splits and/or dividends using Factiva (or the NYT for older info) is time-consuming. I’m also never entirely confident that I haven’t missed a split when searching news articles, which makes me nervous, since a mistake on my part could have major financial consequences for the patron. Newark doesn’t have CCR either as far as I can tell, and I suspect it’s priced out of our league, but I can dream, right?

JiHae said...

Thanks for the informative post, Catherine. I'll be interested to find out how much the CCR would cost. Otherwise, I'm with the rest of the group in terms of acquiring a used copy every few years.

barbara said...

I agree with the majority that we need to keept the Directory of Obsolete Securities. An edition one or even two years old at a lesser price should do the trick because the information we are looking for has usually taken place a while ago.

Janie L. Hermann said...

I think by this point this is becoming a no-brainer -- we need to have it in our collection but it does not need to be purchased annually. I go with Cynthia's suggestion as well and am also interested in a trial for the CCR.

Jane said...

I agree that we should keep it in our collection and update it every two years. I will see what kind of a deal I can get next year for a 2008 volume, and go with the 2006edition we have until then.

Also, I will look into the Capital Change Reporter to see if we can get a trial.

Jane said...

Capital Change Reporter is way beyond our budget--over $2000 per year. So this is not a possibility for us.