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FAQs (Frequently asked questions)

» Coverage

What coverage is included on WVB and what are the selection criteria?

WVB aims to cover all listed companies and issuers from around the world, irrespective of location of size. When initially country coverage is initiated, WVB will cover first the large market cap securities and then gradually move down the list. Updates are prioritized along the same principles.

Can a client request an update or a new company to be added to the WVB database?

WVB has always taken the approach of working closely with its clients' base. Clients can request either via their sales representative or directly via e-mail for an update or a company addition. These requests are treated as top priority and if the client sends us annual report(s), it will be done within 45 minutes of receipt. In cases where more than one or two companies are required to be added to the WVB database, a mutually acceptable time line will be agreed to. For investment banking and consulting firms an additional arrangement exist, whereby the client can send a document and WVB guarantees that the records will be available 45 minutes after receipt of the documents, via the WVB web site.

How much history is available for companies on WVB?

For most large companies the data goes back to 1984. When a new company is added to the database WVB tries to go back a minimum of four years, with the obvious exceptions of newly created companies or recent privatizations. However, in certain parts of the world, companies might be added to the database with one year of data. Currently a project is underway to add the US companies to the database. WVB will add the last two years in the database during the year 2000, and then will add 5 years of historical data, starting with the S&P 500 in 2001. Clients can make specific company requests to add required history.

Does WVB provide information on inactive or dead companies?

Yes, WVB keeps all inactive companies in the Master Database. When a company has become inactive, the appropriate Status Type code is added to the Company Status section. The choices of codes are "Active" and "Inactive".

How can I determine if a company is inactive?

If the reason for the inactive status is known, then the appropriate code is added in the Company Status section, field Status Code. For the various codes see the appropriate Table. Note, that WVB will only mark a company as Inactive, when it receives evidence of that fact. Experience has shown frequently that companies, who may or may not still be listed on an exchange, will not respond to WVB requests for annual reports, but then some years later will send required information (Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia were cases in point).

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» Timeliness

How long does it take WVB to update a company?

WVB’s speed in data update is dependent on the accessibility of company financials. Companies will generally:
  • a) first issue a press release with summarized financials;
  • b) submit filing of preliminary reports in certain countries (Regulatory News Service(RNS) in the UK, BALO in France); and
  • c) finally, publish the final annual report.
For this, WVB has adopted a "fast track method" since 1999 as well as a pro-active collection method. Data published on the RNS is entered the same day as it is published. If the accounts are coming from the RNS or Press Releases, they are deemed by WVB to be incomplete, hence flagged as "CU". Once the annual report is received, the "CU" record gets replaced with a full update. Press release information is captured generally within 24 hours of publication. Annual reports, once received, are classified by ranking (see below) and takes 48 hours during off-peak times to one week at peak times to be updated.

How does WVB prioritize updates when a large amount of companies report are accummulated?

WVB classifies companies according to market capitalization once a year (year end). The companies are then sorted into three groups: priority one (when received done the same day), priority 2 (when received done immediately after all received documents of first priority are completed) and priority 3. Also is taken into account if a company is part of a local or international index.

How soon after the fiscal year end of a company can I expect to see the annual data on WVB?

There are three considerations related to timeliness:
  • a) Reporting/Filling Requirements
    There is a wide variation internationally in the length of time legally allowed between the fiscal year end of the company and the release of its financial statements. Companies may take some time before releasing their audited annual accounts to the public. Reporting regulations vary across countries. In some instances companies may have a 60 to 90-day period (USA) or up to nine months (Italy) before they release the information with the statutory authorities. For the time lines by country.
  • b) Document Acquisition
    WVB aggressively pursues various sources of information. Companies themselves remain the primary sources in most countries. WVB is significantly aided by local partners.
  • c) Document Update
    When annual information is received, it is assigned an update priority generally based on market capitalization within the country. This becomes especially important where annual reports are received en masse due to clustering of fiscal year ends (Japan and USA). At such times, prompt turnaround may not be possible for all companies.

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» Data Sourcing

What are the sources of WVB Data?

Our primary information source is the companies themselves, which send us all publicly available documents and financial statements as soon as they are published. The full audited annual financial accounts are the final source of all the data and generally marked with the code C or N. For USA and Canadian companies the source of information is the 10K Report filed with the SEC and SEDAR, instead of the company annual report. For the fast track method of update sources are press releases either directly from the company or from PR Newswire, Business Wire, RNS, Huggin, BIT, Company News, IR Asia, and others.

How does WVB collect the company annual reports?

WVB has various procedures in place to acquire the reports:
  • a) Once a month a computer program is activated that matches the company latest date of update with the current date, compares it to a grid of when the documents are due to be released, and an e-mail, fax or letter is send to the company requesting the required document.
  • b) At the end of each month, each statistician receives his/her respective Update Status Report, that contains the company name, last fiscal year entered, the report type, the web address, update priority code and, when available, the date of the current years annual meeting. The statistician can then sort the report and will go to the company web site to see if the annual report is available for download. For companies with a priority one he/she will check company website once every two weeks to assure that the report is not available. If available it document is downloaded and the record updated.
  • c) A number of local mailboxes have been established over the years with our own local annual report collectors, as well as partnerships with local parties who collect the documents for WVB.
  • d) In certain countries, a WVB employee will physically collect the annual reports once a year.

How does WVB deal with missing annual reports?

For annual reports which we fail to source via the internet, email or fax, our last resort is to engage the local data collectors to help us. However, in most cases (90%) we can obtain the annual reports either directly from the company or the SEC or Stock Exchange of the respective country.
  • a) WVB will gather these companies and send an email or fax directly to the companies for the annual reports. Simultaneously, we may write to the SEC or Stock Exchange. If there's no response after 3-4 weeks, we will follow up by re-sending email/fax. Still no response after 3-4 weeks, for those countries which we have data collectors, we'll engage them to collect these annual reports. Otherwise, we will leave this company and revisit the following year.
  • b) At the same time, we will indicate under Company Detail section in our database as follows:
    • Date Report Requested: MM/DD/YYYY (indicates the last contact date)
    • Report Requested Flag : F = Fax; E = Email; L = Letter
    • Company Status Code: e,g, 10 = Other (No SEC Filings, ETC) Inactive; 11 = Delisted, Active; 02 =Acquisition or Merger, Inactive; 02 = Bankruptcy, Inactive, etc.

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» WVB Database Queries


  • Currency

What currency is used to update the WVB data?

In the WVB Master Database, the currency used is that which the reporting company uses in that specific fiscal year. Each fiscal year contains in its fiscal header the ISO currency code. WVB Master maintains the original currency and does not re-calculate previous year's accounts. Be aware that this not the case in the WVB Analyst database. The last reporting currency is used and all historical amounts are translated to the new reporting currency.

What are the countries affected by the recent implementation of reporting in Euros?

The only companies which undergo currency translation are those which belong to one of the EURO block countries "as at 1999". The currencies which have been converted in WVB Analyst are as follows:
Germany DEM
France FRF
Italy ITL
Spain ESP
Netherlands NLG
Belgium BEL
Belgian Franc BEF
Austria ATS
Portugal PTE
Finland FIM
Ireland IEP
Luxembourg LUF
Greece GRD

If a country changes or revaluates its currency, what does WVB do?

The ISO currency code will change for the next fiscal year and the new data will be attached to that code. WVB does not historically modify the reported amounts in the WVB Master database. In WVB Analyst the last reporting currency is used and all historical amounts are translated to the new reporting currency.

  • Reporting Issues

How do I know if the company accounts are consolidated or unconsolidated in a particular year?

WVB shows consolidated company account data when it is disclosed. WVB indicates this in the financial data header with a code.

What is the company itself has no subsidiaries, would its accounts be categorized as consolidated or unconsolidated?

This is common in particular with trust companies. They have no subsidiaries; merely the company itself as a whole. The financial accounts of such companies are considered to be fully consolidated, flagged as report type C.

Does WVB carry both the original published data and/or restated financial data?

WVB carries both originally as reported data and subsequent as reported, restated data in WVB Master. Restated data is indicated by the code "CR" and the year of publication.

What happens to previous years accounting reclassifications?

Companies often will re-classify items for presentation purposes from year to year. WVB will not modify the previous year records. If there are material changes to the previous year reported figures due to mergers, acquisition, disposals or accounting changes, then WVB will add a new record to reflect these changes. Reclassified data is indicated by the code "CA" and the year of publication.

Does WVB provide any information on the valuation methods by the company itself?

Yes. The Period Descriptor fields describe many of the valuation methods used by the company itself, as disclosed in the notes to the annual accounts.

How are adjustments for restatements of accounts treated? Does WVB overwrite the original or archive the new numbers?

WVB stores both the original and all subsequent restated accounts for each fiscal year reported by the company. The restated accounts are flagged as CR and include also the year in which the company published the restated account(s). Practices vary from country to country, where in certain cases the companies restate either one or three years back.

  • Company Business Description

Does WVB provide the company description in native languages other than English?

WVB provides at least two company descriptions of activities in the English: a short company description (generally not exceeding three lines) and a long company description (depending on company provided description and history). In addition WVB provides generally a company description in the local language. The languages are French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Two separate efforts are underway:

  • 1) company descriptions in Japanese and Chinese;
  • 2) company description in other languages other than English and the local language. No time line is available at this moment.

Does WVB provide local language labels for the data items themselves?

Yes. WVB has a dictionary that contains a translation of each financial data field in the database.

Where does WVB obtain the company description?

The preferred source is the company annual report activity description or the company web site. In those cases where none is available from the company the local WVB data staff creates it.

What is the depth of WVB's company business description?

In addition to providing the company's business activities, WVB strives to capture the company's corporate developments such as history, listing, name change, merger & acquisitions, divestments, closure of business division, etc. WVB can also collect specific information such as chairman statement, directors, company future outlook and auditors report upon customer's request, if provided. For a comprehensive list of business description type.

  • Industry Classification & Segmental Information

How are WVB industry classifications determined?

WVB carries SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes and the FTA (Financial Times Actuaries Codes) for each company. The assignment is determined by the contribution of the business segments to net sales. Company may have multiple codes each with an importance ranking attached. When a company changes industry activity, this will be indicated within the record with a "from date" and "to date". In addition, WVB developed its own Industrial Classification Codes with a similar structure as the SIC codes. These codes are used to classify the business segment result breakdown.
Further, we have added classification of industry activities by NAICS, NACE, ISIC

How can I determine that a company has changed industry?

WVB enters one or multiple industry codes with a starting date and in the case of change in business sector, an end date. The end date will only appear when the company has discontinued an activity.

Does WVB have more accurate and in-depth industry classifications?

Yes, for each company financial year. When the company provides it, a detailed breakdown is available based on Sales, Profit, Assets, Depreciation, Capital Expenditure and number of Employees, is collected. To provide a more accurate and timely addition to industrial activities, WVB maintain its own industrial classification codes.

Does WVB provide in-depth geographical breakdowns?

Like for the in-depth industry classification, WVB collects a detailed breakdown, also based on Sales, Profit, Assets, Depreciation, Capital Expenditure and number of Employees.

  • Scenarios

How does WVB handle company name changes?

WVB maintains a table of Company Alias Names. There are always two company names, the Legal Name and the Product Name. The legal name is the complete legal name of the company (Societe Financiere des Haute Voges SA; International Business Machines Inc.). The Product Name is a truncated name, allowing a more logical alphabetical ranking (Financiere des Haute Voges; IBM). Each name has an Alias Name Type code. Also are provided Alias Names (I.B.M.; I. B. M.); Company Local Registration Number; Name used on the stock exchange if different from the product name; and the Previous Legal Name. Each record shows an Effective from Date. When a name change takes place, the new Legal Name will be created and the previous legal name label will be changed as well as the Effective Through Date.

How are fiscal year end changes treated on WVB?

WVB has a number of flags, besides the date, to indicate changes in time period in the financial header records.

How does WVB adjust for IPO's and spin-offs?

In the case of spin-offs and IPO's, WVB creates the new company with a new WVB number. Out of the prospectus, all relevant and pertinent information will entered into the database. The financial data header record will show the type of account it is, generally "PR" for pro-forma accounts. The parent company, if they so disclose, will have restated accounts generally reflecting these events and are entered into the database with the code "CR".

What if there is error in the reported balances of the company accounts?

If there is indeed a material error in summation in the report, WVB statisticians act as follows:

  • a) Insert the balancing figure into WVB financial fields e.g. Other Assets, Other Liabilities and Other Income. Rounding errors which are immaterial may be excluded from this exercise.
  • b) Contact the respective companies' investor relations officer or chief financial officer for further clarification on the error found.
  • c) Provide supporting explanation for the balancing figure under Product Note 2 dated with the corresponding fiscal year. E.g. note: "Included in WV30 Other Assets is balancing figure amounting to X. The balancing figure is to adjust for the difference noted in the breakdown in "Note 9 Other Debtors & Prepayments" against "Other debtors & Prepayments" disclosed on the face of the balance sheet. WVB have notified via e-mail to the investor relations of the company, and to date, they have yet to come back to us with a satisfactory explanation."
  • d) Once the company replies, correction is made and noted in the same note.

What if there is a duplicate WVB ID of the same company?

In rare cases when this happens, WVB verifies the duplicate entry by their accounts, ISIN codes, etc. The company with less financial years updated would be deactivated from the database whilst the company with more financial years updated would be maintained.

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» Miscellaneous

Does WVB perform internal quality control validations?

WVB performs two types of quality controls:
  • a) During the data input
    The WVB input software was specially designed to capture as reported data in all its details. The approach was taken to use as much as possible accounting templates that resemble the local accounting presentation as much as possible. Also the details that are generally disclosed in footnotes have been brought forward so that mathematical validation is easier to accomplish. The same is true with the negative or positive signs. WVB does not by purpose assign these functions to the data label. A number of internal calculations are performed during the data input and when all data has been entered additional calculations and validity are carried out by the system. No company can be approved for product if, per definition, the total assets and liabilities do not match. Similar links exist between the P&L account and the business and geographic segment data, but with an overwrite capability, in case where required.
  • b) After the company has been entered
    Independent of these, a second set of data validation is carried out on a monthly basis. This set of validation is to assure that data items (45 in total) have not been omitted, where previously available. Also a test is conducted to assure that the currency magnitude is within a tolerable range.

Is the WVB Company Number unique and is it ever re-used?

The WVB Company Number is unique to the issuer across the data and years. The number is never re-used with another issuer. It provides an effective data management tool for linking issues to the issuer and building an archive of changing issue identifiers.

How does WVB link Issuers to Issues?

WVB provides a Cross-Reference (xref) file in collaboration with Exchange Data International (EDI). The file provides a link from the WVB number to ISIN, trading symbol and local stock exchange code. In the common version of the xref file, WVB provides a link from WVB number to ISIN along with ISO country code. A detailed version of the xref file contains the same items as the common version, but WVB can add trading symbol and local stock exchange code if available.

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