A heavyweight collective of buy-side and sell-side institutions are collaborating on the development of an open standard for the electronic exchange of investment research.
The new specification, to be known as RIXML (Research Information eXchange Markup Language), will be based on XML, the emerging standard for data sharing between applications. The published spec will aim to provide a structure for parsing and classifying investment research in a way that enables recipients to access information in a customisable format through standard sorting and filtering criteria.
Asset management members of RIXML.org include American Century Investments, Capital Group, Fidelity Investments, Putnam Investments and T Rowe Rice. Broker-dealer founders are Credit Suisse First Boston/DLJ, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, PaineWebber, Salomon Smith Barney, and UBS Warburg
The founding firms say others will be invited to join as the group expands its membership in coming months.
"Our challenge is to determine how best to facilitate consolidation and delivery of the reams of information that asset managers are receiving from their brokers daily," says David Seibert of T Rowe Price, co-chair of the organisation's steering committee. "The Internet has provided a great distribution channel for investment research, but it also has created fragmentation, since firms that publish research have developed their own proprietary solutions. An industry-wide standard is required to facilitate the smooth distribution and exchange of information, no matter what distribution channel a client may use."
An initial draft specification for equity research is expected to be released for comment by the steering committee within the next four months, he says. Subsequent to this initial release, the draft will be freely available and open for comment from all interested parties, including vendors. At this stage, the group will begin to consider standards for other asset classes, such as fixed income securities.
"By providing a common language for the distribution of any type of research, be it text or multimedia, RIXML will provide a way for brokers and asset managers to exchange the right information between the right people at the right time," says steering committee co-chair Joseph Sommer of Credit Suisse First Boston/DLJ. "At the same time, research recipients will be able to create new types of highly personalized reports from multiple information sources, increasing both the value and utility of broker investment research."