Hunting for Dirty Deeds in the $34 Trillion U.S. Futures Market
By Matthew Leising
February 16, 2017, Bloomberg
At the cash-strapped regulator of the U.S. derivatives market, even an iPhone’s worth of data is too much to handle. Every day, just a bit after 4 p.m., about 50 gigabytes of data are transmitted from the Chicago office of CME Group to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington. The files contain the day’s history of trades on the world’s largest futures exchange, which CME runs. And that’s just a sliver of the information the agency gets.
One way to nail crooked traders who are distorting prices is to sift through that data and spot manipulation. Yet cases of potential fraud are likely going undetected, in part because the CFTC lacks sophisticated software to analyze the data it gets from CME and the other parts of the markets it oversees. “The CFTC has an enormous amount of data,” says Aitan Goelman, who until February was director for enforcement at the commission. “We could be doing so much more to proactively detect misconduct, and we can’t because of our budget.”