The Financial Services Authority has decided against using extensible business reporting language (XBRL) for companies to file their regulatory returns on the grounds of cost.
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FSA IS director Darryl Salmons said, "We were originally thinking that XBRL was the way to go. Then we did a detailed review of what firms were using and of XBRL itself.
"We assessed the technical options and then carried out a number of fact-finding discussions with other regulators. One of the messages coming back was the cost of XBRL in the UK."
XBRL is a variant of the messaging language XML that enables huge volumes of financial data to be interrogated swiftly.
The FSA's decision to abandon XBRL for XML means that UK regulators do not have to commit to backing XBRL for the foreseeable future.
The financial services regulator had planned to use XBRL as the language for its integrated regulatory reporting (IRR) programme. Every financial services company in the UK has to electronically file regulatory information using the FSA's IRR systems.
Salmons said, "XBRL was not the best technological fit for the firms that we regulated. XML is being used in our other systems so it could be used to achieve our target of having a single reporting system."
The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is building a system to receive American companies' quarterly results using XBRL. The system will go live next year, although the SEC has yet to decide whether to mandate XBRL.
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