So how plugged in is the SEC chair? (technologically speaking)

March 1, 2011

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro says her agency has its work cut out to compete with the massive amounts of money that private firms, policed by the SEC, pour into the latest technology.

“Can we keep up with Wall Street? I think we have a fighting chance. We’ll never have, under any circumstances, the kind of budgets that would allow us to spend a billion dollars a year on technology as some firms do, I mean that’s just not going to happen, and I totally understand that,” she said at the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit. FINANCE-SUMMIT/SCHAPIRO

“If we can build a forensics lab for our enforcement people to be able to download data off of iPhones and iPads and other instruments, then we will be a lot better able to pursue insider trading potentially and other securities law violations,” she said.

So how technologically plugged in is the SEC chair personally?

“I have an iPad,” Schapiro said.

“No I don’t do Twitter, I don’t have a Facebook page. You know, in my position it would be complicated,” she said with a laugh. “So maybe I’m kind of middling in terms of technology.”

Her agency has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page in development.

To see how important technology is to the SEC, just look at the amount of data it must sift through in dealing with cases.

“In a four to five months period we get the equivalent of the amount of information in the Library of Congress,” she said.

“So, we can’t do the job without the technology.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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The SEC is at least ten years behind Wall Street. They have nowhere near the resources that Wall Street can bring to bear on manipulation of markets. By the time they catch up to the bad actors, either the statutes of limitations are already expired, or the thieves have taken their loot and disappeared to South America.

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