The XBRL International Standards Board is forming a global Corporate Actions Working Group to standardize the transmission of corporate action events in Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL.

XBRL is data-tagging technology that is now required by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other national regulators for financial filings from public companies to make them easier to compare across companies and industries.

The corporate actions project will build on work initiated by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, SWIFT and XBRL US in 2009 that resulted in development of a draft taxonomy and business plan.

Corporate actions are events that affect shareholders or debt holders of a company, such as stock splits, reverse splits, dividends, stock dividends, share buybacks, mergers, exchanges and name changes. The distribution of such information has traditionally occurred via a press release issued by the company or a filing submitted to securities regulators, made available to processors and investors in a format that is not computer-readable. Transforming these messages into XBRL-format eliminates the need to rekey the data, improving the timeliness, accuracy and usefulness of the information.
Over the past two years the XBRL community has worked on prototype taxonomies to standardize corporate action events modeled on U.S. requirements. The Corporate Actions Working Group would be formed as an XBRL International Working Group to develop a truly global taxonomy that integrates with other international standards such as ISO 20022.

The mission of the XBRL Corporate Actions Working Group will be to define a global standard for corporate actions documents that can be tagged at origination by the issuer or the issuers agent and allow straight through processing of this information to the security holder, tightly integrated with relevant ISO20022 messages.

“The standardized reporting of corporate actions data will eliminate many of the costs associated with manual entry, reconciliation and operational errors that plague institutions that must use corporate actions data,” said XBRL International CEO John Turner in a statement.

Stakeholders interested in participating in the global corporate actions working group should plan to attend a June 11 meeting that will be held at the XBRL International Conference in Orlando, Fla.

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