"We risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance"
- Rubén Blades

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it"
- Art Buchwald

"It's getting exciting now, two and one-half. Think of everything we've accomplished, man. Out these windows, we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to economic equilibrium"
- Tyler Durden

"It is your corrupt we claim. It is your evil that will be sought by us. With every breath, we shall hunt them down."
- Boondock Saints

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's About The Rules

As was stated last night, not all high-frequency trading is bad.  What is being discovered is that there has been in existence an entire business model hidden from the public designed to help the for-profit exchanges perform their sole duty which is "to maintain the best interest of shareholders".  We can accept people want to trade fast and frequently, as a trader myself I've been condemned for not holding shares for more than 1 year, I get how it feels.  The issue is with the big players, the people who test systems in the open market, and those who use their speed to manipulate the processing power of the slower exchanges through the excessive use of cancelled quotes. 

It's been two years since this piece aired on The Daily Show and it hurts to admit it but I once made broad statements about the HFT community unaware that the egregious behavior I was witnessing first hand was the result of many bad apples, not an entire community (think down the lines of the Gun Control debate).

The problem is that I lumped them all together and Irene Aldridge does too but she assumes they're all good.  This has been addressed on Floating Path before (with another little bit here).  The issue has matured from being about high-speed trading to being about the social networks established as a result of fee-seeking for-profit exchanges.

Samantha Bee's hits the nail on the head when she says "if I know about a stock activity a day before, it's insider trading but if I know about the activity 1 second before, it's high-frequency trading"?