SEC chief hails 'big data' in insider trading bust

A top official at the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday said the agency's data collection program has helped regulators clamp down on insider trading.

"We had twice as many trials this past year as in the prior year," said Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC's enforcement division, at a forum in Washington. "[We're] using big data to detect misconduct and bring cases that we otherwise couldn't use before."

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Ceresney said it's been a "banner time" for the agency as comprehensive data capabilities are "increasing by the day."

"We have access to data that we just didn't have access to five or ten years ago," he said. "[We're] finding patterns of traders who are trading in unison and then working backward" to see where they got the information.

"It puts people on notice that we're going to have technology that they don't necessarily have access to," he said.