Wow. Who knew that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had a seriously geeky side?
It’s no secret that the SEC and its documentation constitute an endless well of legal gobbledygook that will cure insomnia for many, instill zombie-like behavior in others, and force some individuals into an existential crisis.
It is news, though, that SEC officials are embracing application programming interfaces (APIs), unveiled as “open data enhancements that provide public access to financial statements and other disclosures made by publicly-traded companies on its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system (EDGAR).”
We are told that the SEC’s new APIs for EDGAR will “aggregate financial statement data, making corporate disclosures quicker and easier for developers and third-party services to use. APIs will allow developers to create web or mobile apps that directly serve retail investors.”
Institutional investors might like the easier data access too.
“The free APIs provide access to EDGAR submission history by filer as well as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) data from financial statements, including annual and quarterly reports, Forms 8-K, 20-F, 40-F, and 6-K. The SEC anticipates adding more datasets in the future,” according to an SEC statement that is equal parts legal and IT gobbledygook.
“The SEC updates APIs in real time throughout the day as EDGAR submissions are made public. In addition, a bulk ZIP file — making it possible to download all the API data — is updated and republished nightly,” assures the regulator.
The SEC is making the APIs available for beta testing and wants “a period of public testing and feedback,” officials say.
In fact, the regulator has set up a “data.sec.gov” page, which is serving as a host for “RESTful data Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) delivering JSON-formatted data to external customers and to web pages on SEC.gov. Open to developers for beta testing, these APIs do not require any authentication or API keys to access,” officials add.
The SEC is encouraging “recommendations regarding how we are implementing our APIs,” and asks that comments be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. “Please note we cannot provide technical support for developing or debugging scripted downloading processes,” adds the SEC.
The aforementioned page about APIs and documentation is at https://www.sec.gov/page/sec-api-documentation
This view into the SEC’s geek-squad gives me some hope that it and other regulators may be gearing up to take on the denizens of the digital dystopia of hackers, crypto-crooks, and ransomware demons that are always willing to strike.