Basics of a Company Prospectus

by Valencia Higuera, studioD

Corporations need capital to operate. Funds are often used to develop and market new products and services, which ultimately drive the company’s growth. A corporation might seek a commercial loan to meet its financial needs. Another option is to solicit funds from investors by selling stocks or bonds. Investment dollars are a crucial funding source for publicly traded corporations. Before the corporation can issue stock and raise funds, however, a prospectus describing the offering must be prepared.

Definition of Prospectus

A prospectus is a legal document that details information about a corporation and its finances. A corporation must prepare a prospectus prior to offering stock to investors, and the document must be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It will give investors useful insights into the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Many investors rely on the prospectus in deciding whether to invest their funds in a particular company.

Preliminary and Final Prospectus

A corporation must prepare a preliminary prospectus as well as a final prospectus. Investors read the preliminary prospectus before purchasing the company’s stocks or bonds. This document gives a detailed overview of the firm's management, strategies and organizational structure, among other things. The final prospectus is provided to investors after the stock offering has been finalized. This document contains additional information, such as the number of shares purchased and the price of shares.

Relevant Information

A prospectus should be written in such a way that it provides a clear picture of the corporation's strengths and weaknesses. It must give as much detail as possible, and the information must be completely accurate. In addition to disclosing management strategies and organizational issues, a prospectus will include the corporation’s financial statements. This information is vital to investors. It is imperative that the prospectus disclose all relevant facts about the company's history, risks, legal issues and business activities, as well as information on how the corporation will make use of funds received from investors.


While it's possible that a corporation could falsify or exaggerate its strengths to attract investment dollars, investors can take legal action to recover their funds if the prospectus contains false or fraudulent information. A range of legal remedies is available to investors if the prospectus contains misleading information about the company or omits important financial details.

About the Author

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as, AOL Travel, and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.

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