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Ireland introduces XBRL and XML reporting to MiFID and fund service providers

As the Central Bank of Ireland initiates plans to roll-out XBRL and XML reporting, Michael Nsubuga - Senior Regulatory Sales Consultant at ARKK – discusses his predictions for the future.

With every new year, changes come to the regulatory reporting landscape. Much of the financial world are preparing for new changes such as the implications of Brexit, changes to passporting rights, and of course the general “unknown”, however there are changes that remain familiar. In Ireland, this familiar change is the move from reporting to the Online Reporting System (ONR) via webforms and Excel to every National Competent Authority’s favourite universal languages of love XBRL and XML.

For those of you unfamiliar with XBRL and XML – they stand for eXtensible Reporting Business Language and eXtensible Mark-up Language respectively (same but different!). The main purpose for moving to these two reporting formats is that it means that information can be in a machine-readable format (albeit illegible to anyone not trained in code) and therefore be disseminated globally, regardless of the country it’s reported in.

If you were lucky enough to have experienced the introduction of COREP, AIFMD, Form PF, Solvency II, CBCR and many other acronyms, you will be aware that the introduction of these reporting languages has shown little sign of abating. This is because as the world moves towards a more global way of working, regulators need to be able to make sure information is as universal and readily available as they can.

On December 14th, the Central Bank of Ireland, the Irish NCA, sent out correspondence to all MiFID and fund service providers informing them that they would be continuing the trend and gradually moving their remaining returns to XBRL and XML. In their own words:

“Some of the returns submitted by your firm will gradually be phased out and replaced by more fit-for-purpose formats, such as XBRL and XML, which are commonly used by other National Competent Authorities and European Supervisory Authorities (a number of XBRL/XML return types are already being submitted to the Central Bank’s ONR system).”

Put simply, you can expect more of the same…

And the Irish aren’t alone in their transition. In the same month that this move was announced, Iceland made the transition to XML reporting for AIFMD, and Greece and Cyprus announced that they would join their European counterparts in additional NCA reporting in XBRL.

For firms, the challenge is now to find vendor partners who can cater to their ever-changing reporting requirements. Procurement teams are now busier than ever having to find multiple partners to meet their growing compliance needs. The due diligence questionnaires are plenty and the list of third-party suppliers is… extensIBLE (sorry it had to be done!).

What firms need to be able to do is consolidate all these returns under a single supplier; a supplier who has specialised in preparing these returns; a supplier who has a history of successfully helping organisations report in these languages across multiple jurisdictions, while also carrying out all the necessary, up-to-date validation checks. And without meaning to throw our hat in the ring – here is our hat in the ring!

ARKK was built on a machine-readable dream and from our humble beginnings we have gone on to become one of the most trusted XBRL and XML houses in Europe. With an in-depth understanding of regulation and the world-class customer support to boot, we have gone on to assist one-person-operations to large globally systemic banks and global consultancies - the recurring theme with all of them being ‘once they bought one solution they often wanted more’.

In summary, as we move towards a more global, uniform way of reporting it’s becoming ever more apparent that XBRL and XML will play a big part in that future. As such firms must increasingly put emphasis on partnering with companies who cannot only help them now but will also be well positioned to help them in the future.

Whether you are an Irish FINREP & PRISM filer, a recently in scope FCA regulated firm, a Multi-national Enterprise or any company who has found themselves facing the age-old machine-readable dilemma, please do get in touch with ARKK as we have a history (and future) of getting these things right.