WASHINGTON, DC — The Data Transparency Coalition today applauded the introduction of legislation that would require federal financial regulators to adopt consistent data standards for information they collect under the securities, commodities, and banking laws. The Financial Transparency Act of 2015, introduced today in the House of Representatives by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and several bipartisan cosponsors, seeks to transform financial regulatory reporting from disconnected documents into open, searchable data.
“Too often, U.S. financial regulators are using non-searchable plain text documents and PDFs to collect information from the financial industry,” said Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition. “Even where data formats are used, they’re often too different from agency to agency, and even between offices in the same agency, for meaningful data analysis. The Financial Transparency Act changes all that by mandating data standards – and directing agencies that they should be interoperable wherever possible.”
The bill directs the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research to set data standards, including a common identification code for regulated entities, for the whole financial regulatory sector. It also directs the eight other agency members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to adopt data standards for the regulatory information they collect, and to follow the OFR’s lead where applicable.
For all information required by other laws to be made public, the bill directs each agency to publish such information as open data – machine-readable and freely downloadable.
“Open data helps investors, regulators, and the financial industry,” said Hollister. “The companies of the Data Transparency Coalition are ready to republish financial information for investors; analyze it to help regulators find leverage and fraud; and automate reporting to ease compliance costs for regulated entities. All these opportunities depend on the agencies’ mandate to standardize and publish the information as open data – a mandate to be provided, for the first time, by the Financial Transparency Act of 2015.”
Announced original cosponsors of the Financial Transparency Act, along with sponsor Issa, include Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN), John Delaney (D-MD), and David Schweikert (R-AZ).