Developed and maintained at HEC Montréal since 2006, the IOFSC Research Database provides instant access to the institutional profiles of financial services cooperatives (FSCs) from over 26 countries. The institutional information is represented by 23 variables and the financial information by 70 variables, including performance and capitalization ratios. The Research Database offers objective, verifiable and relevant quantitative and qualitative data collected annually over a period going back up to 15 years.
Through institutional partnerships, the IOFSC also has other detailed databases on commercial banks and FSCs in various geographical regions, to serve the specific purpose of the International Research Centre on Cooperative Finance.
The variables are organized through a common scheme to allow data comparison, which has been the subject of a research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. The development of the scheme was carried out through a three-level benchmarking, including a comparative analysis of existing banking industry databases along with analysis of FSCs and the annual reports of commercial banks. To maximize uniformity, an inter-institution dictionary and an intra-institution glossary have been developed.
The IOFSC team collects financial and operational data from FSCs using original documents, such as annual reports, audited financial statements and official websites of institutions. The data collection is based on the disclosure standards of the financial services industry. The data collected is reclassified according to the common scheme established while respecting the integrity of the information. A data entry policy, established by the IOFSC team, enables uniform data collection.
What motivated the creation of the Research database
A comparative analysis of commercial data suppliers, who provide specialized databases of commercial financial institutions, has shown that even though some of these databases contain information on FSCs, they are often presented in an irregular or incomplete manner. Moreover, this data does not take into account the organizational network structure of cooperative groups, which has led to the partial and inadequate representation of FSCs. Thus, quantitative information on FSCs available in electronic format is characterized by a lack of usability, tracking and sustainability, as well as dispersion and disorganization. Indeed, information on FSCs, when it exists, is either very localized or drawn from commercial banks.
Development of the Research Database
The IOFSC team continues to enhance the databases on FSCs and other types of stakeholder financial institutions, with available data from public sources. However, this is not sufficient and needs to be complemented with data from the cooperatives and the other institutions themselves.
Aimed at developing a knowledge base, a proposal has been submitted to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to fund technological modifications to the system, in order to add trend analysis and benchmarking tools, graphics capabilities and report generation. It is also intended to develop an XBRL taxonomy for FSCs and add data for more FSCs across the world.
For more information on the IOFSC Research Database, please contact us.