Zero Hedge recently had some choice words against a subset of HFT, namely Flash Trading, and as even Irene Aldridge confirmed earlier, there is something very wrong with this critical component of program trading. It seems our admonitions have not fallen on deaf ears. In a startling development of anti-establishmentarian activism, Senator Charles Schumer has asked the SEC to ban Flash Trading in its entirety, as it gives high-speed traders an unfair advantage over other investors.
Senator Charles Schumer asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to ban “flash orders,” saying the transactions give high-speed traders an unfair advantage over other investors.
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Bats Exchange Inc. and Direct Edge Holdings Inc. hold these orders for milliseconds, giving their customers the opportunity to gauge demand before traders on other exchanges get the chance to bid, Schumer said in a letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. Brian Fallon, a spokesman at Schumer’s office, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
“Flash orders allow certain members of these exchanges to obtain access to order flow information before that information is made available to the public,” Schumer wrote. That allows “those members to use rapid trading programs to trade ahead of those orders and profit from advanced knowledge of buying and selling activity,” he added.
The implications of this development are immense: if politicians are willing to take a major chunk of out exchanges' primary revenue streams, one may even hope that they won't stop there but will in fact continue much higher in the food chain and start investigating the perpetrators of real market malfeasance.