Italian watchdog tests AI for market oversight

The successful testing of these prototypes suggests that AI could soon be integrated into Consob’s regular activities to improve regulatory controls.

 Flag, Italy Flag

Italy’s financial watchdog, Consob, has begun experimenting with AI to enhance its oversight capabilities, particularly in the initial review of listing prospectuses and the detection of insider trading. According to Consob, these AI algorithms aim to swiftly identify potential instances of insider trading, which traditionally requires significantly more time when conducted manually.

The agency reported that its AI algorithms can detect errors in just three seconds, a task typically taking a human analyst at least 20 minutes. These efforts were part of testing conducted last year using prototypes developed in collaboration with Scuola Normale Superiore University in Pisa, alongside an additional model developed independently.

Consob views the integration of AI as pivotal in enhancing the effectiveness of regulatory controls to detect financial misconduct. The next phase involves transitioning from prototype testing to fully incorporating AI into Consob’s regular operational procedures. That initiative mirrors similar efforts by financial regulators globally who are increasingly leveraging AI to bolster consumer protection and regulatory oversight.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has utilised AI technologies to combat online scams and protect consumers. That trend underscores a broader international movement within regulatory bodies to harness AI’s potential in safeguarding market integrity and enhancing regulatory efficiency.