This past Spring, in reaction to the recent high-profile abuse of the economic system, the Securities and Exchange Commission amended the Investment Company Act of 1940 with the Money Market Fund Reform. The reform seeks to tighten the short-term risks of the money market through several changes that limit investment firms to certain restrictions and to bring more transparency to the portfolio holdings. One such approach that the SEC took towards enforcing transparency is requiring firms to report their holdings every month to be posted publicly on their website and reported directly to the SEC EDGAR system through an XML format, starting in December.
Investment firms must report to the SEC EDGAR system by using Form N-MFP. This form can only be submitted by XML. Having only just released the new Form N-MFP XML schema specifications at the end of August, the financial institutions must work quickly to implement the required SEC XML specifications. While the SEC ruled in May that firms must report their holdings every month, the firms have until the beginning of December to comply with the SEC’s required XML form. This federally mandated XML specification is perhaps the first step towards more pure electronic transactions with government entities with XML being the transport of choice.
The technical pressure can be intense as in as little as three months, financial institutions have had to ensure they meet this federal guideline. Also in the same time-frame, third-party software vendors have been pushing financial reporting solutions that implement the SEC XML schema to allow small to medium-sized firms to meet the guidelines as well. The XML requirement provides the opportunity for domain-specific XML software solutions to be a viable business and a look to the future when the government requires XML for many other types of transactions.