The Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) provides sophisticated analysis that integrates economic, financial, and legal disciplines. The Division’s responsibilities cover three broad areas: risk and economic analysis; strategic research; and financial innovation. Its responsibilities include providing economic analyses of proposed Commission actions and providing expertise in analytical approaches and methods in support of the Commission’s enforcement and examinations program. In its “think tank” and other roles, DERA is involved across the entire range of SEC activities, including policy-making, rule-making, enforcement, examination, and other matters.
In addition to Financial Economists, other professional positions in DERA include Research Associate, Database Administrator, Financial Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, and Statistician. Opportunities exist within the Division to focus on work in specific policy areas, risk assessment and modeling, database administration, and litigation support. In all roles, candidates should possess advanced quantitative and/or financial skills similar to those found in degrees such as Masters of Finance or Financial Engineering or Masters of Business Administration (with a quantitative/finance concentration), or have market experience through positions with banks, exchanges, asset managers, broker-dealers, hedge funds, mutual funds, or similar institutions.
Other Professional Positions in DERA include:
- Research Associate
Research Associates in DERA are federal employees who typically have a bachelor’s or higher degree in economics or finance with varying levels of experience. Research Associates often work alongside Financial Economists providing support for, and conducting: data collection, manipulation, and organization; computer programing; and review and summarization of studies in formal and informal settings. Research Associates may also provide support for economic modeling activity in the division’s risk assessment programs and assist the Financial Economists in preparing papers and manuscripts for public dissemination. Research Associates often use their experience working with more senior Financial Economists in DERA as preparation to enter a Ph.D. program in a related field or enter more operationally-oriented positions in other areas of the Division or SEC.
- Financial Analyst
Financial Analysts in DERA are federal employees with an education, background, or experience that may be in fields other than finance and economics, but that is otherwise relevant to supporting the technical aspects of data-driven initiatives, particularly those that require the processing and analysis of large and complex datasets, financial disclosures, and other information ingested through the SEC filing process. Financial Analysts are expected to develop, maintain, and apply skills including the writing, optimization, and maintenance of code generated from computer programming languages that permit the extraction, manipulation, and accurate analysis of data that is too large to process using common office desktop tools. Technical responsibilities may include analyzing market behaviors and financing practices, identifying potential issues in financial disclosures and filings, addressing accounting and auditing questions, and assessing market trends. Financial analysts also frequently provide support to senior staff in the preparation of documents, reports, and other written materials that include financial measures, statistics, charts and tables.
- Operations Research Analyst
Operations Research Analysts in DERA are federal employees who typically have a bachelor’s or higher degree in operations research, mathematics, or similar quantitative field, and perform quantitatively intensive analyses using a wide range of advanced techniques such as data mining, text analytics, natural language processing, topic modeling, machine learning, as well as classical statistical methods. Using these techniques, Operations Research Analysts generate risk metrics and develop processes designed to identify potential market misconduct, federal securities law statutory or rule violations, and other issues that could adversely affect the well-functioning of financial market activity and investors. DERA Operations Research Analysts commonly use tools like JAVA, Python, SAS, and R to implement cutting-edge analytical methods, and to design, develop, maintain, and modify quantitative models, metrics and reports that support market risk assessment and monitoring activities.
Statisticians in DERA are federal employees with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) that includes at least 15 hours in statistics, or a strong combination of education and experience in statistics. DERA Statisticians perform statistical analysis, interpretation, and presentation of financial market data for a variety of applications. Statisticians provide advice and recommendations to Senior DERA staff on statistical methods and procedures as applied to the analysis of economic data. Statisticians also design the methods, tools, and execution plans for studies, surveys, or experimental designs; collect data, prepare that data for analysis, and produce statistical data analyses covering securities market activities; evaluate data and cause factors to determine trends and completeness of documents; present briefing material to senior Smanagement; and prepare special studies and reports reflecting the status of programs and projects.
- Database Administrator (DBA)
A Database Administrator (DBA) is a federal employee with advanced technical experience in information technology (IT) functions as they relate to the ingestion, maintenance, and delivery of high quality data for use in the SEC’s data analytic initiatives. DBAs perform the coding of extraction, loading, and transformation (ETL) processes that route highly complex financial market information into various computing environments, including those designed to handle high volume and velocity (big) data such as that generated by equity market trading. DBAs work across analytical teams within the division to help determine optimal computing strategies and to ensure the consistent application of methods within the various computing environments. The division’s DBA team also works closely with the SEC’s Chief Information Officer to provide end-user guidance on functional requirements of major IT infrastructure investments and decision-making.
- IT Specialist
IT Specialists in DERA are federal employees with a technology oriented education, background, or experience that may include fields other than finance, accounting and economics, but that is otherwise relevant to enabling the technical aspects of data-driven initiatives, particularly those that require the processing and analysis of large and complex datasets ingested through the SEC filing process, procured from third parties and/or generated through internal processes. IT Specialists are expected to develop, maintain, and apply skills including the development, optimization, and maintenance of computer code and standardized languages that facilitate the access, extraction, validation, manipulation, and analysis of data that is too large to process using common office desktop tools. Technical responsibilities may include the development of infrastructure, applications, dashboards and other visualizations related to the processing of data relevant to Commission analytical needs. IT Specialists also frequently provide support on the development and maintenance of schemas and applications relevant to the Commission structured data initiatives and rulemaking.
Accountants in DERA are federal employees with an education, background, or experience that may be in fields other than finance and economics, but that is otherwise relevant to supporting the technical aspects of data-driven initiatives, particularly those that require the analysis of financial and non-financial disclosures ingested through the SEC filing process. Accountants are expected to develop, maintain, and apply skills targeting the analysis of corporate financial and non-financial disclosures for detection of material non-compliance and data quality matters. Technical responsibilities may include analyzing and identifying issues related to financial and non-financial disclosures within filings, as well as related market information, addressing accounting and auditing questions, and assessing filer, segment, sector and market trends. Accountants also frequently provide support in drafting of papers, analyst reports, and other written materials that include financial and non-financial measures, statistics, charts and tables.
DERA attorneys provide legal advice to management and staff on a wide range of issues related to the Division and typically have a background in Federal securities laws, the laws and regulations governing the federal rulemaking process (including the Administrative Procedure Act), or both. In particular, DERA attorneys work closely with DERA staff economists to ensure that DERA’s economic analyses are well-crafted and comply with the APA and with the Commission’s Guidance on economic analysis. They also coordinate the integration of economic analysis into Commission rulemakings by facilitating DERA’s relationship with attorneys in the other rulemaking offices and divisions. In addition to their role in rulemaking, DERA attorneys serve as general legal support for the Division. For example, they may analyze complex legal or factual issues regarding the acquisition, use, and sharing of data. They may also have primary responsibility for preparing memoranda informing the Commission on DERA activities or requesting Commission action, as well as for drafting relevant talking points and briefing materials regarding the Division for the Commission’s use with external entities such as Congress. Finally, DERA attorneys counsel Division staff working in areas such as structured disclosure, risk assessment, and data analytics.
How to Apply
Candidates should possess advanced quantitative and/or financial skills similar to those found in degrees such as Masters of Finance or Financial Engineering or Masters of Business Administration (with a quantitative/finance concentration), or have market experience through positions with banks, exchanges, asset managers, broker-dealers, hedge funds, mutual funds, or similar institutions.
Candidates interested in a permanent position may apply under an open vacancy announcement. All vacancies for permanent positions are listed on this website and through USAJOBS or other professional recruiting sites (Bloomberg, WSJ, efinancial, etc.). Interested candidates should carefully read the qualification requirements and application procedures that are outlined in each announcement. Applications must be submitted during the open announcement period.
Candidates applying for a permanent position must be a U.S. citizen per Executive Order 11935, “ Citizenship Requirements for Federal Employment,“ September 2, 1976.