[April 19, 2000] Investment Research Markup Language (IRML). Multex.com, Inc. has developed an initial specification for a proposed open-architecture 'Investment Research Markup Language (IRML)' standard which would benefit all facets of financial information technology -- "business-to-business, business-to-consumer, sell-side firms, buy-side firms, corporations and individuals." From the announcement: "Multex.com, Inc., a leading Internet financial e-marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of financial services and information, announced today its initiation and sponsorship of the Investment Research Markup Language Organization, IRML.org, an industry association comprised of key members from all facets of the global financial services industry. IRML.org will provide a forum where all participants in the Investment Research community can come together to develop a nonproprietary, industry-wide standard for the creation and exchange of Investment Research using XML technology. IRML.org proposes a phased approach to adopting the new technology. Immediately, firms will be able to distribute Investment Research products as they create them today but include additional meta data files (including earnings estimates, recommendations, etc) in an XML format. This will allow firms an entry point for using XML and working with IRML. Early adoption of XML will allow firms to better leverage their existing research creation and/or retrieval processes, without having to re-engineer their entire research creation process. The approach espoused by IRML.org is intended to be beneficial to both producers and consumers of Investment Research. These benefits include lower distribution and production costs, expanded flexibility within firms' IT infrastructures and powerful tools for retrieval and manipulation of information components. With XML standards in place for Investment Research, firms will be able to create on-demand, decision critical research, tailored to each prospective client, enabling enhanced, targeted client communications. IRML.org will present its proposed specification of the IRML standard as the starting point for the discussion that will lead to the creation of a truly industry owned standard. The initial IRML schema is the result of many months of development and testing by Multex.com, which utilized over 2 million documents from its data repository in conjunction with community input. The inaugural meeting will be held in June, in New York City."
[December 01, 2000] Draft 'Investment Research DTD Proposal (June 2000). .ZIP package. The draft DTD is constructed in several parts, with separate disk files. "This proposed framework should be digested and evolved by the appropriate working group committee members and is presented for the benefit of the community in which a standard will be implemented. The purpose of this framework is to identify a starting point for a solid foundation of building a standard for the financial investment research community. Therefore it should not be limited to singular disciplines of research, nor to attempt to normalize the unique value add proposition which each entity brings to market. It should solidify the navigational aspects of exploring the content and provide the X (eXtensibility) factor which is often left behind in other XML efforts..." DTD usage is allowed only "for purposes of evaluation in the context of IRML.org"; see the statement in the DTD file for details.
[December 01, 2000] Text from Warren Sample (Director Special Projects Development) [1 Dec 2000] wrt the proof-of-concept DTD: "This XML model only provided a discussion point for building a financial investment research framework, in order to encapsulate all disciplines of research (equity, fixed income, Forex, etc). Its model and architecture was considered by the IRML Technical Specification Working Group and provided another platform for discussion, which will lead to an eventual industry owned standard. We hope to provide a time line for a tentative draft specification release in the short term, for subsequent public comment and consumption. IRML will be issuing a press release on the matter very shortly as the group continues to finish its consensus version of a draft specification 1, initially focusing on Equity based content as a first step, early in 2000 Q1. Additionally, we will soon be instituting our proof of concept prototype, which we feel will put all of this into action, so that firms can see and understand what this all really means to them, beyond concepts... IRML is a not for profit entity focused on building an open and non-proprietary XML standard for our community. To that end the consortium accepts relevant and active participants from within the financial community. If you would like more information, please let me know. As the complexities of investment research content are truly a different animal then anything that XML has been applied to before, conversational rather then just transactional, we feel that in order to do this effort justice, we need to continue to gain insight from the many different points along this financial information chain. We currently have several working groups established who are looking at specific areas in regards to the standards building process. We are also working and communicating with other relevant financial standards bodies and organizations, to ensure that interoperability can be achieved, as it benefits the end user / consumer in the financial community..."
[November 29, 2000] "IRML.org Unveils Initial Working Groups and 'Proof of Concept' Prototype for XML Standards for Investment Research." - "IRML.org, the first global industry consortium established to develop a nonproprietary, industry-wide standard for the creation and exchange of Investment Research content using XML technology, today publicly announced its three working groups. Additionally, the consortium announced plans to build a 'proof of concept' prototype for evaluation during Q1 2001, along with the draft specification for public comment. The Consortium is comprised of firms from major banks, brokerages, relevant third parties and buy side institutions. The group consists of over 30 firms globally, including participation by: ABN AMRO, AXA, Barings Asset Management, BARRA, Bloomberg, Charles Schwab & Co, CLSA Emerging Markets, Deutsche Bank, Digital Capital Limited, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, FactSet, Fortis Bank, Greenwich Associates, HSBC, JP Morgan Asset Management, Lehman Brothers, Lipper, Inc, Multex.com, Morningstar, Newton Investment Management, Reuters, Robertson Stephens, SG Cowen, Schroders Investment Management, Standard & Poor's, and US Bancorp Piper Jaffray, among others. The group plans to release a Proof of Concept' working prototype early in 2001. Several brokerage houses have already made commitment to outputting research content into this draft standard, which will then be evaluated by a special panel of Buy Side representatives for its utility and ability to create greater efficiencies between parties in the financial information supply chain... The Organization seeks to create accepted, concise standards for Investment Research for use by all market participants. Benefits of the standard would include: (1) Providing multiple research products from a single set of XML data; (2) Allowing for a finer targeting of client needs through the customization of reports; (3) The streaming of Investment Research data to be delivered over next-generation platforms, including wireless; (4) Establishing further efficiency between parties and within the community; and (5) Providing a forum for research to be accessed and manipulated in meaningful ways. The Organization also unveiled its three initial working groups. The Technical Specification Working Group, ' chaired by Stuart Berwick from Dresdner Kleinwort Benson is tasked with execution and building of the XML standard. The Strategy Working Group' will manage bigger-picture issues and business strategies. Finally, a Liaison Working Group' will coordinate with other relevant standards bodies within the community. As IRML's goals and focus are unique from other XML efforts, the Organization still realizes the importance of establishing formal relationships with other relevant industry standard bodies who are examining different pieces of the XML puzzle, in order to best foster interoperability and real benefit to end consumers."
[December 01, 2000] "US Bank Consortium Tests XML Standard." By John Geralds. From VUNET.com News. November 30, 2000. "A global consortium of financial services companies plans to build a prototype of an XML standard for investment research based on the ecommerce language. IRML.org (Investment Research Markup Language), which is made up of banks and brokerages including ABN AMRO, AXA, Barings Asset Management, Bloomberg and Charles Schwab, will examine several proposals for the specifications. The group will also prototype a proof of concept, involving financial institutions publishing research content using XML, while a panel of banks that buy such reports will be set up to evaluate those feeds. 'We are currently in the process of fine-tuning a consensus schema which will be dubbed draft version 1 and be open for public comment,' said Warren Sample, the consortium's director of special projects development. Sample said the specification is being created by members worldwide. 'We would foresee that where regional issues or differences exist, they would be addressed locally. But for the most part we are looking to institute a global standard, as the financial research community is global in spec and client base,' he said. A strategy working group will look at the business requirements of the standard and the strategic aspects of the organisation, while the liaison group will examine the membership of interested companies and also work with other standards groups..." See further details in the announcement, "IRML.org Unveils Initial Working Groups and 'Proof of Concept' Prototype for XML Standards for Investment Research."
"IRML, For the Investment Research Community. Meeting the Needs of the Industry Demands and the Reality of Practical Implementation, for Today and Tomorrow." IRML White Paper. Fall 2000. "...In creating a standard, it is imperative for the community players to recognize that investment research is conversational in its format and nature. Compared with traditional transactional XML applications, conversational XML has further requirements, which should be employed in the standard, as they are of unique benefits to producers and consumers of this information. In order to fully capture and harness the power of conversational research, a multi-threaded approach must be considered. This approach would deliver layers of information that work both in concert with each other and alone. The net result is the ability to turn a one-dimensional flat document, into a multi-dimensional and evolving data set. Additionally, this approach addresses the need for structural information, as viewership and presentation output in some published format will always remain an imperative (paragraph, headings, footnote, etc.), but also in conjunction with the application of the following layers: (1) Classification or context layer: Allowing the grouping of the document or data for distribution, access and retrieval purposes. (2) Elemental layer: Decision critical and more database driven types of information within a document. These are fixed items that can be served up to your clients as desired (e.g., title, analyst names, recommendation, sectors, regions, summary). (3) Analytical layer: As mark-up is central to grouping, dissecting and extracting the information desired, it would be remiss to leave out this layer, which provides for such things as emphasis, reason, recommendation and opinion to specific parts of documents. All three layers working in concert more accurately deliver the content, and allow for the more logical componentization of information and data..."