FINRA and CFTC make critical hires towards integrating data analytics and surveillance technology

Rick Steves

The CFTC has announced Ted Kaouk as Chief Data Officer, John Coughlan as Chief Data Scientist. FINRA has appointed Feral Talib as Head of Surveillance and Market Intelligence.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have both announced critical appointments, signifying an increased focus on data analytics and market surveillance.

With the CFTC appointing Ted Kaouk as Chief Data Officer and John Coughlan as Chief Data Scientist, and FINRA announcing Feral Talib as Head of Surveillance and Market Intelligence, the two regulatory organizations are taking significant steps towards integrating advanced data analytics and surveillance technology in the regulatory framework, reflecting a proactive stance in adapting to the rapidly evolving financial markets.

CFTC announces Ted Kaouk as Chief Data Officer, John Coughlan as Chief Data Scientist

CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam recently announced the appointment of Ted Kaouk as the Chief Data Officer and Director of the Division of Data (DOD).

This strategic move aims to bolster the CFTC’s data-driven approach to regulatory oversight. Kaouk, with an impressive background, including roles as Chief Data Officer at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Agriculture, brings a wealth of experience in data integration and strategy development. His appointment is seen as a crucial step in enhancing the CFTC’s ability to make informed policy decisions.

Alongside Kaouk, John Coughlan has been named the agency’s first Chief Data Scientist. With eight years at the CFTC, Coughlan’s appointment marks a new era in data science for the agency. His expertise in machine learning and data analytics will be instrumental in advancing the CFTC’s use of artificial intelligence for effective oversight of the derivatives markets.

Chairman Behnam underscored the importance of these appointments. “The massive shifts in financial markets driven by advances in technology put the CFTC at the center of a new era of financial data, empowering us to more efficiently and effectively execute our mission.

“With these new critical hires, the CFTC is upskilling our data science staff, and increasing capacity and capability to be at the forefront of market innovations. We now have the team in place to set a strategy with concrete benchmarks and a clear path forward.”

FINRA announces Feral Talib as Head of Surveillance and Market Intelligence

Meanwhile, FINRA has appointed Feral Talib as the Executive Vice President and Head of Surveillance and Market Intelligence. Talib’s role, a new addition to FINRA, is set to begin on January 2. His extensive experience in market surveillance, most notably as the Global Head of Market Surveillance at BNP Paribas Group, positions him as a key player in strengthening FINRA’s surveillance capabilities.

Talib will be responsible for leading FINRA’s surveillance program, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the U.S. securities markets. His focus will be on continuous innovation, ensuring that the surveillance systems keep pace with the evolving and complex nature of modern financial markets.

Stephanie Dumont, Executive Vice President and Head of Market Regulation and Transparency Services at FINRA, praised Talib’s expertise and track record. “Feral has extensive experience leading surveillance programs that will bolster our mission of protecting investors and promoting market integrity. He has a proven track record of overseeing comprehensive surveillance portfolios while utilizing cutting-edge surveillance techniques. Feral’s surveillance expertise will help us continue to innovate and enhance the effectiveness and technological sophistication of our surveillance program. Feral will be a key addition to FINRA’s ongoing leadership in regulatory surveillance.”

“I am excited to be joining FINRA and to have the opportunity to lead its Surveillance and Market Intelligence unit. Robust surveillance is vital to ensuring fair markets and protecting investors, and we are at the cusp of an evolutionary leap in surveillance capabilities through the use of artificial intelligence and our ability to process unstructured data. By combining advanced surveillance and detection with FINRA’s traditional investigative expertise, I look forward to continuing and building upon the excellent work FINRA is already doing in this space,” Talib said.

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