The Securities and Exchange Commission introduced an online tool that allows investors to compare executive pay at 500 of the largest American companies.

The Executive Compensation Reader, available at, takes advantage of the Extensible Business Reporting Language that the SEC has been pushing companies to file their statements in to make them more easily comparable. It also builds on the SEC’s new requirements that call for clearer and more complete disclosure of executive compensation.

“Gone are the complicated data expeditions that forced investors to hunt through financial statements, footnotes, proxy statements and other disclosure documents to figure out how much a company pays its top executives,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox in a statement.

The system tags executive compensation figures in XBRL so investors can view summary compensation tables that show total annual pay, as well as the dollar amounts of the executives’ salary, bonuses, stock, options and other company perks. The tool also links back to the companies’ original proxy statements, including the footnotes and explanations of the compensation decisions.

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