Wall Street watchdog prepares to launch data collection plan in 2015

WASHINGTON Tue May 20, 2014 3:34pm EDT

WASHINGTON May 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog aims to build and launch the initial phases of a mammoth broker data collection system in 2015, assuming it secures approval for the plan, the regulator's head said on Tuesday.

Brokerages have objected to the plan, known as the Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System, or CARDS. It would require firms to submit vast quantities of data to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an ongoing stream.

FINRA could then use that data to analyze everything from securities transactions and asset movements to customers' risk tolerances and time lines.

FINRA Chief Executive Officer Richard Ketchum, who spoke to reporters at FINRA's annual conference on Tuesday, said FINRA plans to launch CARDS in stages, in order to make the costs for complying easier for firms to absorb.

It would put the first two stages into motion during 2015, assuming the Securities and Exchange Commission approves the plan, Ketchum said.

Firms would not have to submit certain details to FINRA during the earliest stages, including information about products they don't hold directly, such as variable annuities.

Brokerages have criticized the plan for everything from being overly broad as well as burdensome and costly. Ketchum sought to promote the system as a benefit to the industry that would help eliminate unfounded concerns a brokerage may have engaged in wrongdoing.

The CARDS plan will require approval from the SEC, which oversees FINRA and must review and approve its rules.

A formal proposal for the SEC could be ready as early as this summer, Ketchum said on Monday. [ID: L1N0O519W] (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)