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Streamlining data would improve financial regulation, panelists say

StreetTalk – Episode 70: Banks' Liquidity Conundrum Could Fuel M&A Activity

Street Talk Episode 70 - Banks' Liquidity Conundrum Could Fuel M&A Activity

StreetTalk – Episode 69: Banks left with pockets full of cash and few places to go

Street Talk – Episode 69: Banks left with pockets full of cash and few places to go

Streamlining data would improve financial regulation, panelists say

Streamliningfinancial data standards is essential to improving risk management and the regulationof financial institutions, panelists said at the Financial Data Summit on March29.

"Ifwe don't transform in the financial world the type of data that is collected andstandardized, we will not be able to make significant progress in improving riskmanagement and financial regulation," said Allan Mendelowitz, president ofACTUS Financial Research Foundation and former director of the Federal Housing FinanceBoard.

Moreattention is spent on collecting the data rather than the standards and processto analyze the data, he said. He contended that the bankruptcy of could havebeen mitigated if data was more accessible.

"During the financial crisis the inability, for instance,to access, or to share certain data, prevented market participants and regulatorsfrom fully understanding the size and scope of risk throughout the financial system,"said Richard Berner, directorof the Office of Financial Research. "I think that is still to someextent true."

Speakerson other panels at the event also stressed the importance of implementing data standards,such as eXtensible Business Reporting Language, known as XBRL. The reporting systemis XML-based and allows users to share and integrate data across platforms.

AlanDeaton, acting associate director of the statistics branch of the FDIC, gave theexample of how the OCC, FDIC and Fed use XBRL to collect bank call reports and makethe information available online within six hours of being approved.

The DataCoalition, which sponsored the Washington, D.C., event, is a supporter of a bill,H.R. 2477, thatwould require financial regulatory agencies to adopt consistent data fields andformats.

Otherpanelists talked about the importance of creating a global Legal Entity Identifier,to measure risks of financial institutions more effectively.

Bernersaid the LEI was a "good case study on the value of shared goals and cooperation"and many in the public and private sector supported the system. But, he added, thereis also a need to balance cybersecurity with data accessibility.

Anotherhindrance to streamlining data is the lack of incentives shared by the industryand regulators, he said.

EmilyHuang, CEO and co-founder of the data collection startup idaciti, said in an interviewthat one of the challenges to her startup is that not all data is integrated acrossplatforms. Her company makes company public data into a readable format. Clientstell her they want information from different agencies, but finding the code forthe company filings is difficult because each agency has a different code for thecompany. Having the data streamlined across the board "makes this playing fieldvery even," she said.