Founded in 1970 as a division of Legg Mason, The Washington Service began as a provider of legislative and policy analysis to institutional investors. In response to customer demand, The Washington Service specialized in gathering information from the myriad of available federal, state, and local agency sources, with a specific focus on the SEC.
At the request of Peter Lynch, then manager of Fidelity’s Magellan Fund, The Washington Service started capturing the insider trading data disseminated by the SEC. By this time the firm had established its reputation as a top-tier provider of SEC documents and data. Peter Lynch’s request launched the firm’s insider trading business, which continues to be a main line of business.
Also in the 1980s Bloomberg, Dow Jones, and Thomson Reuters selected The Washington Service to be the provider of insider trading news on their financial information platforms, relationships which continue to the present. The Washington Service also offers direct subscription value-added insider trading services on these financial information platforms, in addition to the basic insider trading news available to all subscribers.
In 1989 the firm’s management team purchased the business from Legg Mason and continues to operate it today as an independent organization. In the 1990s the firm launched its internet based EZ-Insider and EZ-EDGAR offerings. In 1996, the SEC initiated EDGAR, an electronic public company filings feed. Soon after EDGAR’s debut The Washington Service became a Tier 1 recipient of the feed directly from the SEC, a role it currently maintains.
Today, The Washington Service is best known as the premier provider of insider trading data and analytics to securities professionals. The firm also offers a suite of custom services, research, and APIs focused on the SEC’s EDGAR feed.