The Securities and Exchange Commission
announced last Thursday that will hold a series of roundtable meetings in Washington, D.C. throughout 2006, to see how well the body is distributing interactive data through online tools.
These meetings will review the first year of a pilot program designed to help analysts and investors more effectively search for company filings with the SEC. The introduction of "interactive data" has allowed visitors to the SEC Web site to locate specific pieces of information contained in the financial reports of companies and funds -- for example, net income or executive compensation -- without having to wade through the reports in their entirety.
About a dozen companies volunteered to participate in the program's first year.
The roundtables are intended to gather lessons learned from the use of the tools thus far, and determine what targeted improvements can be made to the present system. In a press release
, the SEC said it will seek to discover what investors and analysts are looking for in the emerging realm of interactive data, how to speed the use of relevant software, and perhaps most significantly, how to shape SEC disclosure requirements in order to take full advantage of the technology's potential.
"It is now within our reach to get dramatically more useful information in the hands of investors," said the commission's chairman, Christopher Cox
, in the release. "We welcome the opportunity to learn from investors and other users of financial information how the SEC can improve our own disclosure program."
The commission will invite representatives from various sides to participate directly in the roundtables, including investors, issuers, auditors, analysts, regulators, and technology professionals. Others who wish to submit their feedback on the use of interactive data are encouraged to do so, with details provided on the SEC Web site. The first meeting is scheduled for the morning of June 12.
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