Brokers could face an increase in software costs as a result of the FSA's move to new electronic reporting standards.

Earlier this month, the FSA announced that it would use the XBRL reporting language when it started collecting firms' regulatory returns electronically.

XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an IT standard for defining and exchanging financial and business information.

Software providers fear that the move to this standard will lead to huge additional development costs.

SSP e-business development and compliance manger Gina Cook said: "At this stage we can't quantify the implementation costs of addressing the connectivity issues arising from the use of XBRL, but I would expect them to be considerable.

"The implementation of XML and EDI standards in insurance gave rise to huge costs, and the move to XBRL could be the same.

"At present, it is not possible to say whether these would have to be passed on to brokers."

Misys General Insurance chief executive Phillip Bell said: "We are currently reviewing the impact of XBRL reporting."