Washington, D.C., Nov. 22, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is planning a major push to let investors use the Internet to access mutual fund and corporate information, today announced a request for software vendors to help.
The request came in the form of a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the ongoing management of the EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) system.
EDGAR has been the backbone of the SEC’s disclosure program since the early 1980s. It receives approximately 700,000 filings each year from tens of thousands of corporate securities issuers, investment companies, and individuals. While EDGAR is regarded as one of the most valuable repositories of investment information in the United States, the information it contains isn’t easily used by investors. Instead, the individuals and organizations that used EDGAR for over 375 million on-line searches in fiscal 2005 had to re-enter most of the data they found in order to analyze it.
The last management contract for EDGAR was awarded in 1998. The draft RFP released today contemplates a significant, multi-year project to update the system’s underlying technology. It will also cover ongoing management of the system.
“EDGAR was once state of the art,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Moving from a paper-based world into electronic filing was a significant step in the 1980s. But investors today need access to information in real time, and that information can’t be static. It has to be interactive. During the next 12 months, the SEC will move beyond the EDGAR concept of electronic filing of paper-based forms, to an interactive data concept in which investors can have instant access to data that’s ready to use in myriad software applications on their desktops.”
The SEC’s chief information officer, Corey Booth, said: “The SEC is moving quickly to put new information technology to work for investors. We look forward to revolutionizing the familiar EDGAR program, and to finding ways of taking fuller advantage of modern software, data interchange, and communications technologies with the help of the winning vendors.”
The SEC has already begun to move toward the use of interactive data in its disclosure program. Since February 2005, the Commission has been testing the use of data tagging in periodic and investment company reports, using a format known as Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Filing financial data in XBRL is currently voluntary, and a number of registrants have begun to use the program.
The draft RFP follows a Request for Information (RFI) issued October 20, 2005, in which the agency asked potential vendors for preliminary information and expressions of interest. The draft RFP will initiate a period of exchanges with the software industry leading up to the issuance of a final RFP, scheduled for mid-January, and a contract award, scheduled for mid-summer. A pre-solicitation conference is scheduled for early December at the SEC’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The full text of the draft RFP can be accessed on the General Services Administration’s “Federal Business Opportunities” website at http://www.fbo.gov.