The Securities and Exchange Commission has unveiled its latest plan to make financial information far more accessible and easy to use.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox called the Interactive Data Electronic Applications (IDEA), a “fundamental change in the way the SEC collects and publishes company and fund information.”

The program is an evolution of the 1980s-era EDGAR database, combined with the growing use of placing interactive data computer “tags” on financial disclosures to simplify any searches. IDEA will first supplement, then replace the EDGAR system.

“This new SEC resource powered by interactive data will give investors far faster, more accurate and more meaningful information about the companies and mutual funds they own,” Cox said.

Using IDEA, investors can instantly collate information from thousands of companies and forms to create reports and analysis.

“After 75 years of document-based static financial reporting, whether in paper documents or in electronic equivalents, it is exciting to see the SEC poised to cross the 'data threshold' and help investors receive financial information that is dynamic, usable and ready to go as they make their investment decisions,” said David Blaszkowsky, director of the SEC’s Office of Interactive Disclosure.

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