ISA to apply new language code to attract foreign investment

Outgoing chairman says securities authorities around the world looking to ISA and learning from its experience in implementing new project.

December 20, 2007 20:45
2 minute read.
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In an effort to increase exposure of the local market to foreign investors, the Israel Securities Authority, will apply a machine-readable code, known as Extensible Business Reporting Language or XBRL, which enables investors anywhere around the world to analyze financial reports filed in Hebrew by Israeli companies in their own preferred language. "Israel is one of the first countries in the world to apply mandatory XBRL reporting requirements, to all public companies," said Moshe Terry, outgoing ISA chairman. "In order to attract foreign investors to Israel, we have to speak their language." Securities authorities around the world, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission, are looking to the ISA and learning from its experience in implementing this project and adapting it to local requirements, Terry added. Transition to reporting with the XBRL files does not entail any significant changes to the way the reporting is currently done on MAGNA - mandatory electronic reporting language - launched about four years ago by the ISA. MAGNA is an electronic filing system for collecting and distributing, via the Internet, financial reports required of all listed companies and entities under ISA supervision. The system handles all types of reporting, including prospectuses, annual financial statements, interim financial statements, immediate reports, reports of changes in interested parties' holdings and tender offers reports. Application of the XBRL, within the ISA computer system, will commence with the upcoming implementation of the international financial reporting standards, or IFRS, which will become mandatory for all public companies from January 1. As such, the use of the XBRL will be a by-product and a tool to attract foreign investors since the data submitted by the reporting entities in Israel will become accessible and understandable to investors all over the world, without them knowing Hebrew. "The ISA has initiated two crucial moves to enable international investment companies to read and understand financial reports formulated in Hebrew without the cultural or geographical distance being an impediment to investing decisions," said Terry. "First, to require Israeli companies to adopt the IFRS, the language currently spoken by more then 100 countries in the world and by doing so prevent Israel from being left behind. Second, a move in which Israel leads the way - reporting by means of the XBRL." Currently, public reports are immediately displayed on the MAGNA distribution site. A new page will be added to this site, presenting financial reports containing an XBRL file ready for download and public viewing. In addition, as part of the existing distribution system, the XBRL files will also be distributed to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, to information distributors and other interested entities both in Israel and abroad.

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