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Data and Analytics


Advanced data analytics is a critical function within FINRA and an important component of our efforts to be a risk-based and data-driven organization.7 This work, which supports our examination, surveillance and enforcement functions among others, is conducted in a number of areas throughout FINRA, but primarily within Market Regulation Surveillance, Research, Methodology, and Governance (SRMG), the Regulation Operations Advanced Analytics Team (AAT), the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE), and Technology.

Given the importance of this function, as part of FINRA360, we reviewed our current structure and decided to enhance the communication between the business and technology elements engaged in this activity. Going forward, the teams engaged in advanced data analytics will form an integrated community to maximize the benefits of the investment FINRA has made, and continues to make, in this area.

“Trading activity in the stock, bond and options markets creates a variety of electronic records that we monitor for regulatory purposes. To do our job of protecting investors and ensuring market integrity, it’s important that we are on top of each day’s activity, applying our automated surveillance patterns to help our analysts look for potentially suspicious activity—instead of running to catch up.”

— Steven J. Randich, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, FINRA Blog Post, March 17, 2018

Governance for data analytics is based on a "hub and spoke" structure that includes business stakeholders, all advanced analytics groups and applicable technology support groups. The different groups act in many respects as a single team, sharing information and collaborating across the underlying business units to leverage their expertise for the entire organization. This new model strengthens FINRA's advanced data analytics function by ensuring and promoting:

  • increased coordination, communication and transparency across advanced data analytic groups;
  • partnership for introducing newer technologies, tools and techniques and sharing best practices;
  • better alignment of domain specific knowledge and business priorities across the advanced data analytic groups;
  • consistent technology support for all advanced analytic groups;
  • thought leadership empowerment through better coordination; and
  • the ability for the "spokes" and Technology to continue to produce cutting edge analytical tools and programs to enable FINRA to better protect investors and promote market integrity.

Our ultimate goal is to have an integrated approach to data analytics that avoids duplication, translates data into real results and supports coordinated contributions from all the various groups engaged in this activity.

The second part of the Analytics Program is to gather innovative ideas related to analytics and analytical tools from across the organization and provide resources for further development through preliminary funding and support from business and technology teams committed to quickly exploring their potential. The overall goal of the program is to help us speed up the process to develop ideas from concept to prototype—increasing our ability to innovate. This program is already being used to demonstrate the viability and fund initial development of projects identified through FINRA’s annual technology Createathon.

Summary of Actions

  • Established a governance structure to formalize and improve the communication and collaboration across the existing teams to form an integrated community. The governance structure includes business stakeholders, all advanced analytics groups and applicable technology support groups.
  • Provide initial funding and development support for innovative ideas related to analytics.

7. Data analytics is the analysis of data used in the decision making process and the methodologies applied to detect actionable patterns, insights and trends through analytic tools and modeling techniques.