Scaling CAT: First Phase Complete

Joe Schattschneider
1/27/21 6:00 PM
"Failure was not an option."  - Ron Jordan

Soon after Kingland signed a contract with FINRA to work on the Consolidated Audit Trail, the team found out they had to deliver the first phase of the Customer and Account Information System (CAIS) and Large Trader ID (LTID) in six months. A typical project of this scale would require a year or more to deliver the first phase. 

Kingland is known for handling complex data requirements in a condensed amount of time, but this was different. We're talking about CAT, a unique, data-intensive solution that will help regulators reconstruct activity in equities and options markets following events like the 2010 Flash Crash. The immeasurable value of the data within the CAT system makes this a complex data and security endeavor. The scale is even large for FINRA who is accustomed to collecting massive amounts of data from the industry, but the involvement of Kingland as a trusted partner introduced extraordinary scale on Kingland's shoulders. 

And in January 2020, the team felt the project's full weight and expectations after a meeting with the FINRA CAT team in Rockville, Maryland. "It was eye-opening for us. We had a great deal of functionality to elaborate and build, security measures to achieve, dozens of new or updated corporate policies and procedures to comply with, redo what makes Kingland - the Kingland Way, and most of all, we had to staff up and build the solution," said Jordan. 

When he sat down with two other Kingland executives in the hotel lobby, he had a new appreciation for the project's enormity but knew Kingland had the right people to do the job. 

Jordan compared this to being a college student, believing the end of semester assignment was to turn in a five-page paper. Instead, it's more like a 30-page paper, with an oral presentation, cliff notes, and a digital version of the topic. This was multi-dimensional.

No if(s). No and(s). No but(s)

"I can't understate the effort and quality to get this done," he said. 

Teams spent hours of Webex meetings discussing how Kingland could make this work. Kingland Project Manager Becca Klein was instrumental in shepherding the many moving parts and keeping Kingland on time.  

Jordan said it took every part of the organization to get this done. Business analysts, system architects, engineers, security and infrastructure experts, and many others from every corporate discipline were involved and integral to the solution.  

While we can't go into the specifics of how Kingland met its deadline, we can share that the team pulled it off and successfully delivered the first LTID phase to FINRA CAT and the industry on-time.  

What's Next?

Building the full CAIS solution will entail collecting information for more accounts as well as the underlying customer detail about the accounts. Once fully implemented, information on hundreds of millions of accounts will be securely housed in CAT for use by regulators. 

Because of Kingland's process-oriented culture and the talented staff, Jordan said for him, "it was never about if we were going to make it. It was more about the best way to incorporate Kingland's expertise in client data and the systems that manage it into the CAT solution for FINRA CAT, and to be able to quickly adopt enhanced capabilities around security." 

Learn more about Kingland's involvement with CAT.

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