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Technology Advisory Committee – Commissioner O’Malia

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Photo showing Commissioner Scott O’Malia in a meeting at the CFTC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by Clark Day Photography.“The role of the Technology Advisory Committee is more important than ever as the Commission undertakes the historic task of implementing the Dodd-Frank Act. Because technology is a vital component of the futures and derivatives markets, it is imperative that the Commission deploy state of the art technology to meet its surveillance and enforcement responsibilities. The TAC’s recommendations regarding market design, structure, and functionality will provide invaluable information as we move forward.”

CFTC Commissioner Scott D. O’Malia chairs the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC). Members include representatives of exchanges, clearinghouses, trade repositories, self-regulatory organizations, financial intermediaries, market participants (including trading firms and commercial companies), academia, and consumers. TAC members have been selected for their deep knowledge and expertise in the financial markets and keep the Commission abreast of emerging technological advances and developments.

The TAC was created in 1999 to advise the Commission on the impact and implications of technological innovation in the financial services and commodity markets. Its objectives include making recommendations on appropriate regulatory responses to the application and utilization of new technologies in the marketplace in order to support the agency’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the markets. The TAC also advises the Commission on appropriate investment in technology resources to meet its surveillance and enforcement responsibilities.

Under the direction of Commissioner O’Malia, the TAC convened for the first time in five years, and met on July 14 and October 12. In its first meeting, “Technological Trading in the Markets,” the TAC discussed regulation of high frequency and algorithmic trading, including adoption of risk management and best practices standards. The TAC’s second meeting, “Technology: Achieving the Statutory Goals and Regulatory Objectives of the Dodd-Frank Act,” included panels on disruptive trading practices and the Commission’s new anti-manipulation rulemaking authority, discussion of the May 6th “Flash Crash,” swap execution facility models, and characteristics of swap data repositories. Key topics examined by the TAC include pre- and post-trade transparency in light of computerized trading strategies, swap oversight and data collection, and the use of technology in surveillance and compliance activities to manage risk. The TAC continues to study these and other issues in order to ensure that the Commission remains able to adapt to technology-driven evolution in the markets.

Scott O’Malia, Commissioner

Photo of Scott O’Malia, Commissioner. Photo by USDA.

Scott O’Malia was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 8, 2009 as Commissioner of the CFTC, he was sworn in on October 16, 2009. He is currently serving a five-year term that expires April 2015.

Born in South Bend, Indiana and raised in Williamston, Michigan, Commissioner O’Malia learned about commodity prices firsthand growing up on a small family farm. As a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, he brings both his agricultural background and experience in energy markets, where he focused his professional career.

Before starting his term at the CFTC, Commissioner O’Malia served as the Staff Director to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, where he focused on expanding U.S. investment in clean energy technologies, specifically promoting low-cost financing and technical innovation in the domestic energy sector.

From 2003 to 2004, Commissioner O’Malia served on the U.S. Senate Energy and National Resources Committee under Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) as Senior Policy Advisor on oil, coal, and gas issues. From 1992 to 2001, the Commissioner served as Senior Legislative Assistant to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), now the Senate Minority Leader. During his career, O’Malia also founded the Washington office of Mirant Corp., where he worked on rules and standards for corporate risk management and energy trading among wholesale power producers.

In his time at the CFTC, Commissioner O’Malia has advanced the use of technology to more effectively meet the agency’s oversight responsibilities and has reestablished the long dormant CFTC Technology Advisory Committee (C-TAC). As Chairman of the newly reinstated Committee, Commissioner O’Malia intends to harness the expertise of the C-TAC membership to establish technological ‘best practices’ for oversight and surveillance considering such issues as algorithmic and high frequency trading, data collection standards, and technological surveillance and compliance.

Commissioner O’Malia earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Marissa, currently live in Northern Virginia with their three daughters.


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