"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

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pro-HFTers Butting Into The Conversation Are A Half-Decade Late

It's no secret that for years I have written about and interacted on the telephone and in person (and even was the connection for the making of a documentary.  That's yours truly on the wall on the iPad) with people who shared the same questions and worry about the equity and option market micro-structure.  

I joined Twitter in 2010 and immediately began to spew insight, thoughts, examples, real-time info, white paper analysis, and anything else I could about this unknown, undefined, not-yet-mainstream topic revolving around high-frequency trading.  

With that said, over the weekend the Guardian released a piece on HFT that touched on the stories of some of the well known characters of the debate (read the article here).  Before Nanex was interviewed on RT and subsequently CNBC and written about on Bloomberg, Forbes, and other outlets, I was using HFT Alert and Nanex's trade-cancellation software.  Jeff Donovan and I shared stories through email daily for a bit about the bullshit we saw in the market before it became boring for us both.  After the AP Hash Crash, I was on the phone with Eric discussing possible ways that the order-book for SPY was gamed.  Shit, I was eating Carrot cake in a Wegman's in Rochester with Bodek talking HFT when no one else would listen to him....remember that night buddy?

Even before I realized who David Lauer was, @CalConfidence was sending some challenging messages to him, that he naturally responded to which I then researched only to find out he was right.  Since then David has been viewed as an unbiased acquaintance seeking not fluffy answers but a reasonable solution to what is a clearly a problem.  Naturally I was delighted when he and Chris Nagy fired up Kor Trading to help create a voice in Washington. 

So why did I write this and for what reason have I used your time so far?  It was to make a point.  The pro-HFT babble has become more annoying on social media and on the blogs since much of this topic was brought to the mainstream.  The interactions I just spoke of (aside from Hash Crash and Lauer commentary) were taking place before 2012.  It's now June of 2014 and since Flash Boys hit the shelves, we've had guys all of sudden angry at US for not understanding THEM or speaking on topics the SEC hasn't substantiated (as if that shit matters, remember the astute Gregg Berman?).  If you watch Money and Speed and go further, you will hear Berman say the SEC discloses what it "is legally allowed to disclose".  This commentary contrasts with comments from a guy who has become a somewhat unofficial head of the Pro-HFT crowd (@ScottAvdiros) who stated today quote stuffing isn't substantiated by the SEC.  So we have a pro-HFT looking for validation of observations from an entity that not only thought looking inside one-second wasn't worth their time (regarding an event we've never seen happen before in finance) which also stated in the same breathe that they will only publish what they are legally allowed to publish.  Welcome to the discuss late-comers.

We all need to be careful.  For those of us who did our part to get this information out there, 7 years later we're getting a little tired responding and correcting the information being put out by guys who are only here because they get their information from typical sources and thus, much to what I would I guess is their dismay, are years late to the discussion.  Correcting this stuff is becoming an annoyance.  Scott even went further to say that all order-types were explained and uses some screen shots to prove it.  The only problem is that he is talking on June 8th, 2014 and the issues were changed by Nasdaq and Direct Edge only AFTER Haim Bodek came public and introduced the non-insider HFT crowd about the issue in 2013 and 2014 respectively.  

For those who are new to this debate, be it because of Flash Boys or any main-stream topical discussion, along with those who are perhaps maybe unaware of the real-traders and market players commenting on the problems introduced by Reg-NMS I have one thing to ask...please be careful what you read and check everything, my stuff included.  People make mistakes and some also are plain uninformed.  Beware my friends and try not to let the confusion mask the con.