Let's be clear about XBRL and start by saying it's been around for more than a decade. Having had a very slow birth, after a prolonged gestation period but now the time is here when XBRL will be recognised for the genuine benefits it can bring to business
communication and data processing.
I recently chaired a Corporate Actions conference in New York that had the usual agenda around inefficiencies, costs and risks in corporate actions processing. With presentations from Custodians, Investment Bankers and of course SWIFT taking their usual
path, trying to hold SWIFT connectivity as the ultimate solution; despite in excess of 80% of the attending financial services firms being American buy side, who do not use SWIFT.
The whole day took a definite upturn once XBRL was introduced into the debate and the DTCC project with SWIFT and XBRL USA was put on the table. For the first time there appeared to be a corporate actions data solution that was beginning to make sense, making
a connection to the buy side firms and aligning the needs and wishes of the custodian with the needs and wishes of their clients. The DTCC was brilliantly forcing the debate down an XBRL avenue, like a parade of excited bandsman the tune being played was becoming
The DTCC and SWIFT may have different business objectives with their XBRL project but at this stage this is neither here or there. The fact is that the DTCC and SWIFT are committed to introducing Corporate Data Standards at source: The Issuer!
This alone would drive billions of dollars of data costs, out of the financial services industry data chain and greatly reduce the costs and risks involved in finding the "Golden Copy". It should be noted that several audience members announced their irritation
with the ‘Golden Copy' phrase and like me feel this has been overhyped and done to death. For corporate actions professionals know that finding the Golden Copy is in fact accepting the problems of data rather than solving the source and standard issues that
now XBRL is here to tackle.
XBRL is not the panacea of all data problems but is a vitally important step in the right direction. I hope that through this new XBRL discussion group we will explore all the issues and no doubt pitfalls along the way. But I am confident about the final
outcome and excited that finally the financial services industry has found a path to its utopian land for data efficiency and I look forward to an extensive debate.