US Consolidated Audit Trail Swings into Action

Blog entry

The US Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) swung into action last week after long delays and in a limited way, with members of self-regulatory organisations (SROs) within the CAT NMS (National Market System) Plan, except small SRO members, starting to report to the central repository.

Early reporting follows the end of October publication by Thesys CAT, operator of the CAT, of long-awaited reporting technical specifications. SROs are initially reporting quote, order, trade and other information required under the CAT NMS Plan, although Thesys CAT has yet to complete all the capabilities of first phase reporting. It has advised the SROs that it is continuing to work on outstanding elements, such as the regulators’ query functionality and links between reported events, and plans to complete the full functionality required by the CAT NMS Plan for the first reporting phase on or before March 31, 2019.

While SRO members started to submit data to the CAT on November 15, 2018, small SRO members must follow suit on November 15, 2019.

The CAT is intended to allow regulators to improve securities’ market surveillance by creating an extensive audit trail of customer and order event information for all orders in US exchange-listed and over-the-counter (OTC) equity securities across all markets and trading venues. It is also meant to collect data for exchange-listed options contracts. If implementation of the CAT is completed fully and successfully, which is a mighty challenge for all concerned, it is expected to be the largest data repository of information on securities transactions in the world.