SEC approves consolidated audit trail

The plan would "for the first time ever, allow the SEC and other market regulators to track trade data across multiple markets, product and participants in real time," SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said Wednesday. "It would allow us to rapidly reconstruct trading activity and quickly analyze both suspicious trading behavior and unusual market events."

The individual exchanges use a variety of different systems to keep track their own trading, and data is not compiled into a single database that would make it easier to analyze. A central system would help regulators track unusual trading and determine specific causes for gains and losses. 

The rule is open to a 60-day public comment period. The SEC is asking for proposed changes that could smooth the transition.