CFTC eyes natural language processing to standardize data and improve customer experience

Written by Dave Nyczepir

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission wants to use natural language processing toolkits to digest its unstructured data, according to Tammy Roust, Chief Data Officer.

Roust wants NLP tools to perform discovery on the data feeding CFTC’s enterprise catalog, so that unstructured data can be pushed into structured form if needed.

CFTC employees need quality, standardized data to effectively oversee commodity markets and keep the public informed of market activity, work that increasingly involves open data visualizations and portals – in line with the Executive Order on Customer Experience (CX) issued in November.

“We have enormous experience in the futures market in this organization, and it’s not their expertise in sifting through PDF files to find the one nugget of information that interests them,” Roust said, during the RegTech22 from the Data Coalition. Data Summit Wednesday. “It’s not the best use of human capital in government or anywhere else.”

The CFTC aggregates the data into products such as the weekly Trader Commitments Report that it publishes on its website for trade journalists and institutions, who in turn relay this information to producers.

The increase in open data visualizations and portals will reduce the time it takes for users to consume CFTC information, dubbed the “time tax” in the CX Executive Order, Roust said.

While the visualizations will allow users to dive deeper into data on product markets of interest to them, there are limits to what the CFTC shares publicly as there are privacy requirements around financial institutions.

When the CFTC demands more or different data from the markets, it writes new rules to get it, but the regulator won’t know everything it needs without quality data, Roust said.

Another financial regulatory agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is investigating Platform-as-a-Service technology to improve its CX.

Design and development director Adam Scott at CFPB said his “dream state” is to test new tools and capabilities entirely in the cloud to see what works without worrying about IT infrastructure.

The CX executive decree had minimal impact on Scott’s team because it was already focused on user-centered design, but its work was legitimized. The executive order’s focus on the moments in a person’s life, including financing a business, times of crisis like poverty and retirement, provides a chance for more cross-agency CX projects, said Scott.

“I think in the long term where we have a lot of opportunity in government is to see more inter-agency collaboration in some of these priority areas, where we’ve seen it succeed in times of crisis, like COVID-19,” he said.

Comments are closed.