I’ve always thought those relationship sketches that show connections between companies and people are really cool. One of the challenges using that information in an academic study has been that matching the names of people and companies to actual concrete data can be daunting. I hinted back in July that we would start addressing that problem. As usual – we ran into more roadblocks than expected and our efforts were complicated by some unexpected problems in rolling out to Appstream. I am happy to report that this data went live this morning – there is a new Data Table available from our application named DIRECTOR_RELATIONSHIP. To access the data create a request file in the usual manner and look for the new entry at the bottom of the Data Tables user control on our application as illustrated in the image below:
One of the complications in creating this artifact was to decide how to pick a span of time to use for reporting. The final span we decided on is not perfect but is at least a reasonable starting point – this data is organized by reporting calendar year. During calendar year 2020 (1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020) we identified all DC tables that were filed and isolated those that reported DC data for FYE 2019 or 2020. We identified all directors reported in the DC tables where we were able to match a PERSON-CIK to the directors. We then looked for all other DC tables filed in the 2020 calendar year that included that director.
The data is organized by ISSUER CIK/Calendar Year. So for example if you want to explore the 2020 relationship data for Apple Inc (CIK 320193) your request file should have the value 2020 in the YEAR column. The results will list all of the directors reported in the DC data that Apple filed in 2020 as well as their PERSON-CIK and SEC-NAME (if available) as well as their GENDER and their AGE and tenure (SINCE) as it was reported in the Apple filing. The remaining columns will list the CIK (OTHER_ISSUER_CIK_#) of any other issuer(s) that included the director in their DC data as well as their tenure with the other registrant (OTHER_ISSUER_SINCE_#). Here is a screenshot of this data for APPLE INC:
If you look carefully at the table you will see that Mr. Bell is affiliated with four other registrants – note – those affiliations reflect the fact that he was included in the DC table for those registrants during the 2020 calendar year. It turns out that he retired from 2 of those boards in 2019/2020. The interesting observation in this is that the biography of the directors is forward looking – our data is concurrent.
We are still looking at ways to improve this data. For example – you might note the missing data for BRANDON PILOT ( in the first row of the image). He evidently does not have any SEC reporting responsibility and the registrant he is affiliated with is a Smaller Reporting Company – it takes longer to update data on these registrants. I will note that the DIRECTOR_RELATIONSHIP data for 2020 covers 31,386 PEOPLE-COMPANY observations. We have not been able to identify a PERSON-CIK for only 675 of those observations. Some of those will come later – but others will never show up because the director might never have an SEC filing obligation. Usually that occurs when they are non-US domiciled, the issuer never offers equity to directors or the issuer is newly registered and the director steps down around the time of the IPO.
I am going to extend this post to provide a concrete example for our decision to anchor on PERSON-CIK as a critical identifier. The image below has data for a Mr. Hollis who serves as Chairman of Hain Celestial (CIK: 910406) and as an independent director for SunOpta Inc. (CIK: 351834).
As you can see, Hain Celestial reports his name in the director compensation table as R. Dean Hollis, SunOpta reports his name as Dean Hollis. If we were trying to match across these firms – this small variation would require some contortions and more likely than not some review. By providing the PERSON-CIK we are able to provide more certainty to this process.
You might also notice the age difference in the two rows. SunOpta is a 1/30 filer and their proxy was filed on 5/1/2020. Sometime between then and 10/13/2020 (the filing date of Hain’s DEF 14A) Mr. Hollis celebrated his 60th birthday.
Finally, our initial push of this data covers calendar years 2009 to 2020.