Help Wanted: SEC Creates New Data Analysis Group
Traders Magazine Online News, August 10, 2012
Number crunchers, programmers and ex-traders can get their resumes ready. The Securities and Exchange Commission is in an expansion mode and hiring, because it is forming a new group to analyze trading data and monitor the markets.
The Office of Analytics and Research is the new group and comes under the Division of Trading and Markets. Gregg Berman, senior adviser to the director of the division, will head the team. It is expected to start with about six members: Berman, two other current SEC staffers within the division and three hires at the outset.
In an interview with Traders Magazine, Berman said he plans to bring on board hires with quantitative math experience, programming skills and market knowledge. A new hire could be fresh from school or a grizzled veteran-Berman is agnostic, as long that person is the right fit.
The need for an office of analytics and research came about after the SEC learned it was unprepared to sift through the mountains of market data in the current high-speed, rapid-trading marketplace of today. That was evident when it had difficulty understanding what happened in the market on May 6, 2010-the day of the "flash crash."
The thinking goes that examining trade data following an adverse market event would help the agency reconstruct events, root out their causes and make market structure improvements. The group will also examine policy, market structure and other issues.
The SEC is looking to solicit applicants from both Wall Street and major universities such as MIT, Georgetown, UCLA and Princeton. A financial engineering background is highly desired.
"We have started the search and a number of candidates have applied," Berman said. "We hope to have the group up and running by the fall and in full force by the end of 2012."
The access to non-public data offered by the new jobs could provide an attractive incentive to those looking for a career on Wall Street without actually working on the Street, said Robert Schwartz, a finance professor at Baruch College, at the City University of New York. Being at the commission can offer unique insights on how the markets function or how they are supposed to function without ever executing a trade.
"It is impressive to have [the] SEC on a resume," Schwartz said. "Being there can be very valuable from a learning point of view. I can well understand why people would want to work there."
But despite the allure and prestige of having the SEC listed on a resume, Berman conceded that competing with Wall Street for talent will be difficult. He expects applicants to either be senior-level professionals who at this point in their careers have a desire to improve the market or those who want to work in the financial markets but not actually trade or be on a trading desk.
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