Wall Street Cops Turn to AI for Market Surveillance


FINRA Market Surveillance Crew Gets the “Artificial Intelligence Memo” After NASDAQ and LSE introduce AI tools to Monitor “Layering.”

(Reuters)–27 October-Artificial intelligence programs have beaten chess masters and TV quiz show champions. Next up: stock market cheats.

Two exchange operators have announced plans to launch artificial intelligence tools for market surveillance in the coming months and officials at a Wall Street regulator tell Reuters they are not far behind. Executives are hoping computers with humanoid wit can help mere mortals catch misbehavior more quickly.

The software could, for instance, scrub chat-room messages to detect dubious bragging or back slapping around the time of a big trade. It could also more quickly unravel complex issues, like “layering,” where orders are rapidly sent to exchanges and then canceled to artificially move a stock price.

A.I. may even sniff out new types of chicanery, said Tom Gira, executive vice president for market regulation at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

“The biggest concern we have is that there is some manipulative scheme that we are not even aware of,” he told Reuters. “It seems like these tools have the potential to give us a better window into the market for those types of scenarios.”

FINRA plans to test artificial intelligence software being developed in-house for surveillance next year, while Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) expect to use it by year-end.

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The exchange operators also plan to sell the technology to banks and fund managers, so that they can monitor their traders.

Artificial intelligence is the notion that computers can imitate nuanced human behavior, like understanding language, solving puzzles or even diagnosing diseases. It has been in development since the 1950s and is now used in some mainstream ways, like Siri, an application on Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone that can engage in conversation and perform tasks.

While financial firms are already applying artificial intelligence software for everything from compliance to stock-picking, it is only starting to become useful for market oversight.

“We haven’t really let the machines loose, as it were, on the surveillance side,” said Bill Nosal, a Nasdaq business development executive who is overseeing its artificial intelligence effort.


Market surveillance generally relies on algorithms to detect patterns in trading data that may signal manipulation and prompt staff to investigate.

But the sheer volume of data can lead to an overwhelming number of alerts, many of which are false alarms.

FINRA monitors roughly 50 billion market “events” a day, including stock orders, modifications, cancellations and trades. It looks for around 270 patterns to uncover potential rule violations. It would not say how many events are flagged, or how many of those yield evidence of misbehavior.

The “machine learning” software it is developing will be able to look beyond those set patterns and understand which situations truly warrant red flags, said Gira.

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence in which computers figure out new tasks without having been programmed to do so. In the case of market surveillance, that would mean the computers “learn” which trading patterns lead to enforcement charges, in order to flag the right ones.

FINRA plans to test the new tool next year alongside its existing systems to compare the results.

The regulator has already moved its surveillance systems to Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) web-based Cloud, giving it more computing power to quickly analyze massive data.

Nasdaq is working with cognitive computing firm Digital Reasoning, which it invested in earlier this year.

LSE has teamed up with International Business Machine Corp’s (IBM.N) Watson business and cyber-security firm SparkCognition to develop its A.I.-enhanced surveillance, Chris Corrado, chief operating officer of LSE Group, told Reuters in an interview. Watson has become something of a household name, having bested contestants in the game show “Jeopardy” in 2011.

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TD Ameritrade is Moving-From NYSE to NASDAQ

td ameritrade

(Bloomberg) – TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. will move its share listing to the Nasdaq Stock Market from the New York Stock Exchange.

The online brokerdealer expects to begin trading on Nasdaq Inc.’s stock exchange on Dec. 14 under its ticker symbol, AMTD, the company said in a release Tuesday.

“We regularly review our many business relationships, and moving our shares to Nasdaq is the right thing for our business at this point in time,” Fred Tomczyk, outgoing chief executive officer of TD Ameritrade, said in a statement. Kim Hillyer, a spokeswoman for TD Ameritrade, declined to elaborate on what led to the decision to move the shares from Intercontinental Exchange Inc.-owned NYSE to Nasdaq.

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The listing change comes as Tomczyk announced he will retire on Sept. 30. He will be succeeded by Tim Hockey, head of Canadian banking and wealth management at Toronto-Dominion Bank, which owns about 40 percent of TD Ameritrade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Before taking over Tomczyk’s role, Hockey will become President of TD Ameritrade on Jan. 2, the company said.


On The Menu This Week: Bojangles IPO Launches On Friday


About a month ago, Brokerdealer.com’s blog update covered the southern comfort fast food chain based out of North Carolina, Bojangles, announcement that it would be going public with an IPO after 38 years. On Friday, May 8,2015, Bojangles will officially launch its IPO under the ticker BOJA on the NASDAQ. There are several other IPOs coming out on the menu this week ranging in a wide variety of industries, but Bojangles has set itself apart from the rest.

To learn what sets Bojangles apart from the rest continue reading below and then contact a brokerdealer to invest in this hot new IPO yourself. 

This brokerdealer.com blog update is courtesy of Benzinga’s article, “IPO Outlook: Down-Home Cookin’, Fast-Casual Bojangles’ Sizzles Investors“, with an excerpt below. 

To say it’s a jam-packed week for the IPO market is an understatement. With twelve IPOs scheduled – ranging from biotechs, REITs, MLPs and a hot restaurant – investors have quite a menu to choose from.

Southeastern restaurant chain Bojangles’ Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: BOJA) plans to raise $122 million through 6.3 million shares expecting to price between $15 and $17 on Friday.

Bojangles’ will trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker BOJA.

It’s Bo Time

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bojangles’ joins the other fast-casual restaurants that recently tapped the public markets due to both consumer and investor strong enthusiasm.

The company started in 1977 with a menu centered on “chicken ‘n biscuits” and since has remained relatively unchanged. To put it in context, Bojangles’s is the chicken joint to the Southern realm eateries what Shake Shack Inc SHAK 1.52% is to the burger space in metropolitan areas.

What Makes The ‘Bo Difference’

The company has what it calls the “Bo Difference,” allowing it to grow profits and create a loyal customer base. Its self-described high quality, tasty Southern food is characterized by breakfast biscuits, never frozen bone-in fried chicken, dirty rice, sandwiches, wraps, unique fixin’s, legendary iced tea and its Bo Smart menu.

Bojangles’ five meal offerings include breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and after dinner. Its decision to serve breakfast all day, every day, gives it an edge over its competitors that typically serve breakfast for a limited time or start service with lunch. This edge has paid off as Bojangles’ says in its S-1 that it generates 38 percent of its revenue from 11 a.m. to closing (typically 11 p.m.), or $650,000 on average just from breakfast alone.

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