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SEC Urges Funds to Use XBRL Coding

The Securities and Exchange Commission is urging mutual funds to utilize its newly launched volunteer program to report key financial information via Microsoft's eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), a code that enables documents to be filed on EDGAR in a uniform manner.

SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson said: "There is an escalating demand for efficient and transparent reporting of results by companies using innovative technologies. We are continually seeking ways to fulfill our regulatory responsibilities, while providing benefits to everyone who uses the SEC's public disclosure process."

The software, which several companies have already started to use to file documents with the SEC, allows details like restated earnings releases and stock options expensing to be searched more conveniently. XBRL is expected to help navigate through company data on the EDGAR system, making it more transparent.

"Tagged data has the potential to make fund financial information more accessible and useful to investors and their financial advisers," said Susan Nash, associate director of the SEC's division of investment management.