Editor note: There's also a a good complement to this post: Do You Think The Market is Rigged
For the last year, the writer of the , has been writing his new book Flashboys. Flashboys discusses the topic of High frequency , a topic that has been a hot issue in the markets for the past 5 years.
In an article by Bloomberg Michael Lewis questions
While speed traders' strategies, developed over the past decade with help from exchanges, are legal, "it's just nuts" that they're allowed, Lewis said during an interview televised yesterday on CBS Corp.'s "60 Minutes." The tactics are too complicated for individual investors to understand, he said. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism, is rigged. It's crazy that it's legal for some people to get advance news on prices and what investors are doing.
Not everyone says speed trading is unfair. Peter Naybricht disagrees and says that,
"While there are bad actors in every industry, the game is not rigged in the favor of professional traders who employ HFT to execute their strategies. Rather, they work hard to compete with each other to bring liquidity to the markets, benefiting average investors," he added. "Continued debate about the next evolution of market structure is needed and welcome, provided the debate is based on fact and resulting actions are reasoned, ensuring average investors continue to benefit from the transparency and efficiency enabled by inevitable technological advances."
Federal investigators have started to stick their noses into the issue of HFT and have argued that they are concerned that HFT detracts from the fairness in the market place and that
The problem with high-frequency trading right now is that there's a perception that for the little guy, the markets aren't fair, Gallagher told CNBC during an interview. That perception to me is a reality. It's something we need to address.
Although I wouldn't call myself an expert, I feel that HFT has taken a lot of unwarranted criticism. I've noticed many people are finding a place to shift blame for the difficult market environment that has been present since the crash. However, I don't work in trading, or a public markets role, and I haven't seen firsthand movements that have affected investment, so I wouldn't know. However, when federal investigators say things like
the problem with high-frequency trading right now is that there's a perception that for the little guy, the markets aren't fair
I start to question the argument against it. Is it really fair to say that HFT alone makes the market unfair?
Up until very recently brokers and market makers made HUGE profits at the expense of investors in order to help securities change hands, and HFT seems to be a more efficient, and cheaper way to do it. That's not to say that there are issues with it that need to be sorted out, but if you look at it from a perspective of past methods, there is definitely an argument for the cheap liquidity that it provides. Maybe the intricacies of High frequency trading, discussed by Michael, will change my mind.
What do you guys think? Is HFT something that needs to be regulated, because it ruins the markets? or do you think that the people who call it "unfair" are simply behind the curve, and not accepting of change. Are the markets "rigged"?
More information on Flyboys can be found here