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SEC Confirms US Companies Required to File Financial Reports Using XBRL in 2009

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Originally appeared in MiFID Monitor

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has confirmed that from mid-next year large public corporations and mutual fund companies will be required to submit their financial reports in extensible business reporting language (XBRL). The move, which was initially proposed in May, is aimed at making it easier for investors to read and analyse the data provided, says the regulator.

The SEC voted 4-1 to require 500 of the largest public companies to begin filing financial reports in XBRL in June next year. The rest of the companies using accelerated filing will be phased in over a two year period and a final group will be moved over in 2011, according to the regulator.

The regulator also voted 4-1 in favour of requiring mutual funds to file their risk and return information using XBRL to make it easier for investors to analyse funds’ performance, risk and fees. These funds will now be required to move over to XBRL by 2011.

SEC chairman Christopher Cox has been championing the introduction of XBRL for some time and reckons it is a giant step forward in the regulator’s mission to achieve full disclosure. “Data analysis is faster and more accurate than document analysis and this move will help today’s markets recover from a dearth of confidence,” he says.

XBRL has also been mooted for the corporate actions sector and the DTCC, Swift and XBRL are currently working on plans to introduce it to the issuer messaging space in the future.

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