The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced plans for its own Web tools that will let investors and analysts exploit interactive data to analyze mutual fund and corporate information. The announcement came in the form of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of web-based analysis software that will enable investors and analysts to use interactive data encoded in eXtensible business Reporting Language (XBRL) format.
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“The SEC’s website will feature easy-to-use software that will allow any investor, analyst, or company to discover the possibilities of interactive data,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in a prepared statement. “Looking down the road, we expect that commercially available software products will serve customers in many more sophisticated ways to take advantage of interactive data. We’re enthusiastic about our own plans for the Web, and we look forward with equal enthusiasm to the development of a variety of private-sector applications for both professional and retail use.”
The full text of the draft RFP is available on the General Services Administration’s “Federal Business Opportunities” http://www.fbo.gov/spg/SEC/OAPM/PCB/SECHQ1%2D06%2DR%2D0350/listing.html website.
The SEC has been moving toward the use of interactive data in its disclosure program since February 2005. Already, the Commission has launched initiatives to test the use of interactive data in periodic reports for corporations and in investment company reports. More than two dozen companies of all sizes, including some of the largest companies in America, have joined the SEC’s interactive data test group, and the agency is continuing to welcome new participants.
Interactive data has the potential to enable individual investors and investment professionals to quickly search for and analyze any particular items of information from financial reports, such as individual line items from the financial statements, text-based information including accounting policies or mutual fund expenses, and also to easily compare them from company to company and industry to industry. Interactive data also can allow automatic, real-time delivery of SEC financial data direct to anyone’s desktop.