Updated: Jul 21
These free and paid tools help you find the shady stuff at public companies. Whether it’s outstanding litigation, previous regulatory enforcement or murky corporate relationships, these resources will help you figure out what’s really going on.
ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) - Offshore Leaks Database - ICIJ runs a searchable public database of offshore leaks so you can check mentions in the Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Bahamas Leaks, and more.
Open Corporates - Corporate structure can be complex, and organization charts often aren’t public. The Open Corporates database is useful to ascertain ownership and corporate structure.
Open Payments - Open Payments allows you to search for payments made by drug and medical device companies to physicians and teaching hospitals. The site is hosted by the U.S. federal government.
Good Jobs First’s Violation Tracker - The Violation Tracker brings together enforcement data obtained from more than 200 federal, state, and local regulatory agencies - with a company lookup and search tool.
FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) - Broker Lookup - The broker lookup tool allows you to look up brokers by individual and by firm, so you can check if firms are registered to sell securities, offer investment advice, or both. You can also check on any regulatory actions and complaints.
FTC (Federal Trade Commission) - Enforcement - Access proceedings for ongoing cases, review FTC complaints, ongoing proceedings, and any decisions/orders.
PACER (Public Access to Court Electronics Records) - Pacer provides free/low cost access to case information. Technically they charge $0.10 per page, but they’ll waive fees for anyone incurring less than $30 per quarter (300 pages).
Stanford Law School - Securities Class Action Clearinghouse - This great tool allows you to track class action filings and settlements, and has a searchable filings database.
PCAOB (Public Company Account Oversight Board) - Auditor search - The PCAOB is responsible for ‘auditing the auditors’. Their search tool allows you to search by company, audit firm, and audit partner.
*Note that Bedrock AI provides audit partner relationship mapping and Risk Scoring using the PCAOB database
FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) - If you’ve hit a wall in your research, you can request non-public information from relevant government agencies. Unless an exemption applies, they’re required to provide information. This isn’t always fast, but can be powerful. Here is an example of how someone used an FOIA request to see the status of a whistleblower allegation against Tesla.
SPAC Research (SPAC Alpha) - This is a great tool for keeping track of SPACs and SPAC mergers. We’re aware that including this tool in the “forensic” list is controversial.
Bedrock AI - Bedrock extracts qualitative content from securities filings that is predictive of forensic risks like fraud and earnings management. Bedrock serves analysis in real-time through a web application.
InsiderScore - InsiderScore provides insider trading, institutional ownership and stock buyback information and other data/analytics services.
Probes Reporter - Probes provides alerts on undisclosed SEC probes and analysis of disclosed investigations. They make 2,500 FOIA requests and hundreds of appeals each year so that you don’t have to.