SEC expands XBRL programme

The Securities and Exchange Commission has extended its voluntary programme
for accepting filings under the controversial XBRL format.

The expansion to its scheme, which began in April in an attempt to make it
easier for investors and others to use disclosure documents, now allows mutual
funds to file exhibits to their annual report and quarterly statement of
portfolio holdings.

XBRL is a mark-up language that tags data to allow it to be more easily
searched for and analysed.

However, its take-up has been controversial, with commentators suggesting
that there are already too many different ways to mark up financial data,
defeating the purpose of having standard data tags.

Meyer Eisenberg, acting director of the division of investment management,
said: ‘Mutual funds should review the benefits of participation in this
important voluntary programme.’

Eisenberg said the move was a ‘significant step towards the collection and
evaluation of XBRL data’.

‘Once mutual funds begin participating in the voluntary program, investors,
analysts, the SEC and volunteers in the program themselves will be able to
assess the potential benefits of XBRL.’

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