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When plumber Gary Pusey pleaded guilty in May to insider trading, it was a victory not just for New York prosecutors but for a little-known squad inside the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that uses data analysis to spot unusual trading patterns. Formed in 2010, the Analysis and Detection Center of the SEC's Market Abuse Unit culls through billions of rows of trading data going back 15 years to identify individuals who have made repeated, well-timed trades ahead of corporate news.The new strategy is starting to show results, enabling the SEC to launch nine insider trading cases, around 7 percent of cases the agency brought since 2014 against people who trade on confidential corporate information.That data was key to spotting trades by Pusey ahead of at least 10 deals from 2014 to 2015 involving Barclays Plc, where his friend Steven McClatchey worked.For the SEC, the six-year data-push has had the benefit of giving it some extra autonomy in pursuing insider trading probes beyond the inquiries and referrals that self-regulatory organizations like FINRA produce for the agency.The SEC does not have a direct feed of the markets' trading data.
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