Reginald Ford

Research & Innovation

Automating Financial Regulatory Compliance Using Ontology+Rules and Sunflower

Compliance departments in the international finance industry are struggling to use traditional methods to keep up with the demands of new and more stringent regulatory and policy requirements. One initiative supported by many institutions is definition of a common Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO). We regard a common ontology as an important step, but in order to support real-world uses cases, the ontology needs to be augmented, and further supplemented by rules that encode the meaning of regulations and policies. We use Sunflower, which is built on top of the Flora-2 knowledge representation languages and reasoner, to add automation to the compliance lifecycle. Sunflower is domain-agnostic, and financial regulatory compliance is one of its many application areas.


Reginald Ford is a senior principal engineer in SRI International’s Computer Science Laboratory. He is co-founder of the Ontologies, Rules, and Reasoning Applications program. He was responsible for research and development projects that culminated in SRI’s Sunflower integrated development environment, which is used to create and validate complex systems of rules and ontologies. Sunflower is being applied to diverse domains, including financial regulatory compliance and risk management, defining and enforcing privacy rules for information distribution, synthesizing new products from components of existing products, and assessing interoperability opportunities and impediments among candidate combinations of training, testing, and operational systems.  He has a B.A. degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.