Technology Cuts: Bad News for the CFTC

So what would happen if the CFTC ran out of room to store data? Well we just might find out this October when, according to Scott O’Malia, a commissioner at the CFTC, they are on a path to do just that!

The CFTC’s technology budget, like all government agencies, has been frozen for 2011 at 2010 levels. But with the Dodd-Frank financial reform and the many changes that will be needed to meet financial reform in the coming year, how can the CFTC stay on track? At the moment, Scott O’Malia and others at the CFTC are blaming the approaching shortage of data storage on Gary Gensler. They feel Gensler is not prioritizing the budget appropriately, especially given the changing reform they are facing. Specifically, there is concern that the budget they do have is being used to increase staff. Gensler sees the need for more hands on deck to handle issues created by new regulation, while others think this money should be put towards updating technology and further automating their systems. So what does this have to do with data storage? Well, with the technology cutbacks and money not being allocated to fill the gap in the technology budget, the CFTC cannot invest in more storage. A major problem, especially since the CFTC will be taking on even more data as they infiltrate the OTC swaps market.

Interestingly enough though, there is all this talk around the impending data storage fall out but no mention of what will happen if this is true… Is O’Malia just using this as a scare tactic? Or would this seriously be a big issue in the upcoming year? As an obvious advocate for furthering technology, is O’Malia just trying to push the CFTC to get with the times and update their systems? Does Gensler not see that by improving technology he could inevitably cut back on the salary budgets?

As O’Malia stated “We can no longer achieve our mission and goals by throwing people at them.” Is it time to see what technology can do rather than people?

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