SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro told a financial services subcommittee of the House of Representatives that the federal regulator intends to spend $100 million of its $1.6 billion requested budget for fiscal 2013 on information systems and another $50 million on modernizing the EDGAR stock information database and, its public website.

Here is the gist of her remarks:

This level of funding would enable the Office of Information Technology to dedicate adequate resources to new or ongoing projects in areas such as data management, integration and analysis; document management; disclosure review; and internal accounting and financial reporting.

Additionally, the SEC plans to continue multi-year initiatives to improve the enforcement and examinations programs’ capabilities to intake and process thousands of tips, complaints, and referrals received annually, as well as massive amounts of electronic evidence.

The SEC also plans to make additional investments in electronic discovery, its forensics laboratory, and reporting tools.

As part of our effort to improve key technology, the SEC also intends to use the Reserve Fund established by the Dodd-Frank Act to address important multi-year technology initiatives.

For FY 2013, the SEC plans to use $50 million from the Reserve Fund for continued modernization of EDGAR and, as well as additional IT projects.

The EDGAR database is used by companies and individuals to file periodic reports and information with the SEC and allows SEC staff and the public to search the filings.

With 18-21 million daily page hits, is one of the Federal Government’s most viewed web sites and a critical gateway for both businesses and individuals to access massive amounts (13.5 terabytes) of financial filer information maintained by the SEC.

However, both EDGAR and were developed in the 1990s and use outdated software design and scripting language.

We propose to invest approximately $26 million in overhauling EDGAR and to create new, modernized systems that would improve the agency’s ability to meet Commission requirements and satisfy public needs; simplify the interchange between filers and the SEC to reduce filer burdens; and reduce the long-term costs of operating and maintaining the systems.

An additional $9 million will be used to improve data structure and database performance, verify data, and construct a single data repository and central staging area for all EDGAR and data.

The remainder of the Reserve Fund in FY 2013 would be used on a number of other IT projects, including development of Market Oversight and Watch Systems that will provide the SEC with automated analytical tools to review and analyze market events, complex trading patterns, and relationships; development of fraud analysis and fraud prediction analytical models; and deployment of natural speech, text, and word search tools to assist our fraud detection efforts.

Additionally, the SEC plans to enhance our analytical tools, databases, and intake systems for market data, mathematical algorithms, and financial data.

Tom Steinert-Threlkeld writes for Securities Technology Monitor.


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