US regulators win bigger budgets

US regulators win bigger budgets

US financial regulators the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been awarded big budget increases by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The regulators have been campaigning for more funds as they seek to impose new financial reform rules and keep pace with technology advances in policing the markets.

Under the compromise budget deal agreed between Congress and the White House, the CFTC earns a 20% increase in budget to $202.7 million for the six months to end-September 2010. The award includes a specific floor of $37.2 million for "the highest priority information technology activities of the Commission".

This is an increase of $17.2 million above the current spending level of $20 million for technology. The bill language directs this funding to be used for IT activities, which include work such as developing automated alerts, advanced analytical capabilities, and systems to integrate futures, options and swaps data.

The SEC meanwhile has been granted $1.185 billion, an increase of $74 million above the FY10 enacted level of $1.111 billion.

In conferring the award, the Committee said that further budget cuts would have "severely hampered the SEC's ability to police the markets and enforce securities laws and would have constrained the SEC's efforts to improve its technology to police highly sophisticated market participants who currently trade at almost the speed of light and spend billions each year on their own IT infrastructures".

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