Technology spending cuts could see CFTC run out of data storage - O'Malia

Technology spending cuts could see CFTC run out of data storage - O'Malia

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is on course to run out of room to store its data by October because of an £11 million technology budget cut, Commissioner Scott O'Malia has claimed.

In a speech at a Tabb Group-organised event on derivatives, O'Malia accused CFTC chairman Gary Gensler of playing "budgetary chicken" with Congress.

The CFTC says that the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation has increased its workload but, like all government agencies, it has had its budget - $168.8 million - frozen this year.

Despite this, O'Malia says the Commission has upped its workforce from 605 to 682 full-time employees at a cost of over $15 million to the payroll.

To offset this, the IT budget has been slashed by $11 million, meaning "no funding will be provided for technology upgrades to meet our supervisory burdens under the Dodd-Frank Act," O'Malia told delegates.

He claims that cutting investment means the Commission is expected to run out of data storage by October and is also forcing a "slow down the development of our automated trade surveillance system and automation of all forms".

The Commissioner argues that Gensler has prioritised the wrong areas and that "putting people ahead of technology will not ensure our compliance with Dodd-Frank, and it will certainly not ensure that we do so in the most cost-effective manner".

With technology set to be the "cornerstone of new market structures" he calls for a new office of market data collection and analysis to give the markets a one-stop shop to coordinate the technology investments mandated by Dodd-Frank and ensure cost-effective compliance.

O'Malia's speech comes ahead of Thursday's CFTC Technology Advisory Committee meeting which he pushed to be re-established last year.

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