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21 April 2010, 13:32

Python based SEC filings proposed

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SEC logo A proposal from the US Security and Exchange Commission sees the US financial regulator considering requiring particular regulation-required submissions to the authority to be written in Python. The proposal is aimed at better equipping investors to evaluate offerings of asset backed securities. An investor would be able to retrieve a runnable Python script from EDGAR, the SEC's document database, which they could use as part of their evaluation.

The proposal is trying to work around the problem that normally these offering would be written in legal English which is not easily parsed by computers or by most people. By expressing the information in a computer language, the hope is that there would be more precision in the way this class of deal was presented. Data on asset levels would be encoded as XML documents which could be processed by the Python code.

The proposal specifies Python as language of choice, but invites consultation over whether another language may be more suitable. Python was selected for the proposal because it is an open source scripting language, affording transparency to the underlying runtime interpreter and avoiding the possibility of transferring hard to check binary executable files, which could contain malware, over the EDGAR system. The full 667 page proposal is availablePDF


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