EDGAR is one of the most useful sources for public company research on the Web. It provides documents electronically filed with the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission). As of May 6, 1996, all public companies are required to file in this manner. Use these documents to find salaries, stockholdings, and business histories on top executives and directors. The most useful docs are (links lead to examples):
- The 10K (roughly equivalent to the annual report)
- The DEF-14A (the proxy statement reporting many details about insiders and their compensation)
- The 8K (reports events that materially affect the company - usually concurrent with a press release and may include the full text of the press release)
- Form 3 (an initial statement of stock ownership when a person becomes an insider)
- Form 4 (filed when an insider’s stock position changes - usually through a purchase or sale - summarizes the current number of shares owned after the transaction)
- Form 5 (filed once a year to report any transactions that were not previously reported on a Form 4)
The SEC's site, linked above, has improved over the years and includes a full text search tool that searches all documents filed in the most recent four years. Check it out, and also the other great tools linked here that digest and report the SEC data.