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Ontologies are getting a thumbs up to serve as the basis for the Office of Financial Research’s Instruments database. Last week, the Data & Technology Subcommittee of the OFR Financial Research Advisory Committee (FRAC) recommended that the OFR “adopt the goal of developing and validating a comprehensive ontology for financial instruments as part of its overall effort to meet its statutory requirement to ‘prepare and publish’ a financial instrument reference database.”

The Instruments database will define the official meaning of financial instruments for the financial system — derivatives, securities, and so on. The recommendation by the subcommittee is that the OFR conduct its own evaluation of private sector initiatives in this area, including the Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO), to assess whether and how ontology can support transparency and financial stability analysis.

FIBO, which The Semantic Web Blog discussed in detail most recently here, is designed to improve visibility to the financial industry and the regulatory community by standardizing the language used to precisely define the terms, conditions, and characteristics of financial instruments; the legal and relationship structure of business entities; the content and time dimensions of market data; and more. The effort is spearheaded by the Object Management Group and the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Council.

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