(Diego M. Radzinschi)

U.S Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White has asked Congress to increase the agency’s budget 26 percent in fiscal year 2015, from $1.35 billion to $1.7 billion, a sum that includes the full agency reserve. In making the request, White emphasized the need for the SEC to continue its “vital” efforts in developing and deploying sophisticated technology systems.

In testimony submitted Tuesday to the House subcommittee on financial services and general government, White also said she would also use some of that money to hire an additional 639 people in “critical, core areas.”

In making her pitch for a bigger budget, White said the SEC has done some “groundbreaking” on computer systems that has allowed the agency to do its job better. She specifically cited the Market Information Data and Analytics System, or “MIDAS,” that the SEC began using last October as well as technology developed by the Quantitative Analytics Unit of the National Exam Program that allows examiners to review vast amounts of trading data more quickly than they were previously able to.

“We are laying the technological foundation for unified access to SEC information, applications, and data across the agency,” White said, “and are making a variety of other technological investments to enable us to meet our mission more efficiently and effectively.”

White stressed that now is the time for the agency to increase its investments on that front.

“We are at a critical point in the deployment of more sophisticated technology tools and platforms,” she said, “and it is vital that we have the resources necessary to continue modernizing our IT systems and infrastructure.”

Last year’s budget led some projects to stall, she noted.

“Progress was set back by our level of funding in FY 2014,” she said. “Increased funding for these efforts and new technology investments are essential.”