Critical Response Against High Frequency Trading Starts Generating Momentum

Tyler Durden's picture

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."

From Bloomberg:

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.

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ghostfaceinvestah's picture

"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."


Like the Fed?  They are already on that one.


KEEP SUPPORTING S 604, people.

Anonymous's picture

S 604 and HR 1207 have about as much of a chance at becoming law as I do at growing a third penis. More's the pity, of course.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Don't underestimate politicians - they will gladly eat their own if it can get them elected.

deadhead's picture

GG is absolutely correct!!!  Amen.

dnarby's picture

They will eat more than that before they get re-elected.


Things aren't that bad - YET.  But when they finally get there, they'll be lucky if they can keep a populist third party from taking power.

nicholsong's picture

It's unfortunate to know that President Transparency will veto the audit bill, but it's still an important moment to box him into that corner for the sake of posterity.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

Obama is hands down the WORST president in American history.

VegasBD's picture

Youre probably right. I have a feeling the second half of his first term will seem like a lame duck presidency. As this depression starts to set in further and further he is going to be marginalized faster and faster.


Blue Dog Dems are already one foot off of that bandwagon. And you know if the rats are jumpin ship....

Bob's picture

Hard to judge yet, it seems to me.  Unlike Bush, he hasn't KILLED anyone yet.  But if he vetoes the FED audit, he will certainly be a dead political duck.  Most deservedly so. 

Anonymous's picture

Hasn't killed anyone? Upgrading the Af-Pak war and drone bombing more weddings. But I'm sure he said it wasn't his fault in his latest signing statement. More possible 'kills' if the health bill goes thru. Did you see the part about "end of life counseling" for old folks? Leave your wallet at the hospice, pops.
O-man thought he was Roosevelt, but he's a Hoover, just sucking faster.

Bob's picture

I stand corrected . . . he seems just fine with continuing Bush-style tactics, though he appears to be better defining the enemy. 

Elect to continue your private insurance, man.  You'll never be killed by them, right? 

People not covered now will certainly see no rise in mortality rates. 

Anonymous's picture

LOL this is good! "Obama is a Hoover, just sucks faster"... Laughing my head off!

Anonymous's picture

But what could anyone have done really, considering the extent of the debacle? Alert the recipients of the debt culture, "Let the Great Deleveraging Begin!" to the sudden poverty of all....

When you say "Worst president ever" do you really mean "Worst helmsman of the Titanic ever... (post iceberg)" The bond market response to the GM/Chrysler stuffing seemed to be "Yeh, saw that comin."

Anonymous's picture

The Obamaniac DOES suck, no doubt, but c'mon, man... Jimmy Carter's not even in the ground yet.

Anonymous's picture

I tend to agree. A lot of people feel like he's totally pulled the rug out from underneath them. That all the hype surrounding the guy has turned out to be just that, hype and BS. That he's scammed his way to office by telling the public how he's all about 'change' and is not like Bush. Truth is, he's just as bad. He's going to war on a foreign country (Afghan), he's also going to war on his own people economically. This guy will cripple the US public with debt and pad the pockets of a very select group of insiders to a degree that has never even been thought of before. Even by the likes of Bush & Cheney. He's making Haliburton contracts in Iraq look like tootsie rolls by comparison to his bailouts and debt monitization policies. I beginning to think that he's fucking looter wearing the protective shroud of race and labour. IE blame Obama or call into question his policies and he'll destroy your secured creditor status by fast tracking the bankruptcy and flipping the union to majority ownership. and at the same time he'll publically label you as a racist or as a greedy pig depending upon the situation.

Its an entirely new level of entitlement and greed with this guy and his gang of advisors.

Its a very fine line between loving and loathing a leader. What strikes me most is that the loathing sentiment towards Obama is growing at a very rapid pace, faster even than the loathing towards bush grew. I think its because people are just tired of being lied to. And especially now that the lies invovle what's happening on their own soil and to their own jobs. Bailout after bailout and massive bonuses to bailout org employees is nothing but a massive slap in the face to the US taxpayer. Its criminal, and these guys have absolutely no shame. Its disgusting.

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

If Congress passed it and he vetoed it, that would be a real dream.

The Fed can pump up the stock market all it wants, but with real unemployment at 15% and rising, and gas at $3 and rising, the masses are soon going to look for a scapegoat, and will turn to the banking cabal (rightfully so).

A veto would just further guarantee a one-term deal for this puppet.

Now if we could just get a viable third party...

dnarby's picture

Hear hear!


I vote we call it the "Reason" party, since it will ultimately have to be composed of reasonably reasonable small 'L' libertarians.


The real battle isn't between left and right...  The states and counties can sort that out (community standards are ulitmately imposed anyway).  The real battle is between statists and libertarians.


So...  Time to throw the nut-jobs extremists out of the Libertarian party!


We need the least goverment we can *practically* have, not the least goverment we can possibly have.

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

I'm glad George Washington, or Martin Luther King, or...didn't have your defeatist attitude.

And that site you linked to sucks.

Anonymous's picture


I tried to resist but I just can't...

How did you grow the second one?


Anonymous's picture

I haven't grown the second one (or the third). Hence, "more's the pity".

Steak's picture

If this bill is passed and vetoed it will be introduced every two years until the voters get the message across to their representatives.

If you get started on #2 right now, I'm sure the technology'll be in place to get you #3 by the time we see what the Feds holdin.

Anonymous's picture

Hey, don't give up - I knew a bloke with five penises. His pants fit him like a glove.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

"the perpetrators of real market malfeasance"


Yup. That's the Fed.

Anonymous's picture

Great work

Anonymous's picture

File this investigation under 'Case closed'.

Anonymous's picture

Exactly. I suggest one reviews the article about flash orders to see who was against them, in order to discover who gets hosed by their implementation. Then cross reference that with TD's previous posts about SLP. You'll discover an interesting intersection.

This is sharks vs. whales, and sharks vs. sharks. Schumer is just their pawn, and a good one, since he's not capable of understanding what's really going on. Just like TD. Anyway, keep up the self-back-slapping as if you are really doing something useful.

mcnetgb's picture

Schumer is the perfect high profile media hound to get the job done.

Well done TD for pissing off GS, then CNBC, enough to get the NYTimes attention to give this gift of an issue to Schumer.

Gotta love the unanticipated benefits of a little sunshine.

This blog is all the evidence I need to confirm that full disclosure is the only real regulatory reform needed right now. There are interested parties like yourselves and a few other excellent financial blogs that can take it from there.

Give the Markopolis's of the world a forum and we're off.Stanford was exposed pretty quickly after Felix Salmon started making a lot of noise about it. Coincidence, maybe.  Now this. You guys are my heroes . I want to work for you.


Bob's picture

Agreed on the sunshine and props, but you left me at the turn to no change needed in regulation.  WTF?

mcnetgb's picture

I meant to emphasize "right now". Regulatory change is definitely needed, no question. But good changes require a clearer understanding of the markets/product that are regulated. Serious people are going to disagree and regulatory choices will have unintended consequences. As a first step, I prefer a lot more disclosure immediately, to increase the pool of knowledgeable participants in the debate.

One of the key guiding principles of the regulatory changes over the last 25 yrs was an acknowledgement by  regulators globally that they will never be smarter than the regulated. That principle still applies. Bad regulation is bad.

If you can't regulate human nature, you're best option is require transparency. If you want to rape your clients, fine, but do it in public, with an audience.

Fully disclose the terms of your CDS and the prices they're done at. Disclose in your financials exactly how much your making in HFT due to rebates, order flow payments, flash profits,etc. Disclose, if your GS, how much of the 12.9b from AIG ended up in the p/l and was paid out to traders.

Disclose, position by position, the valuations you're carrying your inventory at. Let me determine for myself if GS and JPM are carrying the same position at the same value.

If you're a rating agency disclose how you arrived at AAA. The structurers knew how to satisfy the rating requirements. Share that with the rest of us.

The SEC has the power to demand this information today. They need to start excercising the powers they already have before we go overhauling anything. Force FASB to grow a pair. Then move on to the debate about the regulatory or chart.

The press, and the blogs, can ask those same questions, loudly and often.

I'd like to see enhanced disclosure today before opening  negotiations with the banking lobby on sweeping regulatory changes that they will be gaming before, during and after the process.


silencedogood's picture

Organizing so that we can push thru the necessary regulatory changes REQUIRING transparency is needed.  Check out:  to see how I am looking to do so...

-Silence Dogood

Anonymous's picture

I feel sorry for the anonymous fellow in the comment above that has two penis'. Especially considering where the second one might be located.

dnarby's picture

That would more properly be 'penii'.

Anonymous's picture

Considering the topic - it's collocated, so no problem there.

Bruce Krasting's picture

The dots on this go directly back to ZH. Hit tip.

Anonymous's picture

WTF, "digital dickweed" dennis kneale is ripping the shit off of ZH's face with his "bottom" call... I can't short this mkt by myself I need some Fight Club brothers. Start by shorting the shit out of COF... c'mon lets target each finny one by one... let the truth be told!

deadhead's picture

COF was amazing today....i read the ceo's comment and must say he was rather straightforward and bearish.....naturally, stock rocks up ~8%.  I saw that (as well as axp) and sold faz that i bought the other day.

agrotera's picture

Seriously Tyler, if you don't explain everything about how to exactly quantify the crime, it will never get done--in other words, tell the people who are supposed to investigate, how to investigate, and how to build the case.  You can make it into a petition if you like for all of us to sign.  Just please make it at some other web location so that everyone's anonymity here is not compromised.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

This a no doubt a great development, but nevertheless it is a very sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country when somebody has to literally campaign to stop what is simply a case of blatant front running. In any case, if Schumer has the right intentions behind this, then we should all definitely support him.

deadhead's picture

Schumer is an incredibly smart operator.....he knows how to play both sides of the fence, i.e. pro Wall St (NY senior senator and he recognizes the $$$ that the street means to NY) yet he can jump to the populist side quicker than a HFT flash (couldn't resist).

If the light goes away and the pressure is off, he and the others will back off the street.  If the heat stays on, the populist route will win over.  like you said GG, the establishment will eat their own to get elected.  If more of us let the Dems know that they will lose midterms if this crap isn't fixed, they will do something.  The key is to make sure that 401k and pension America know and react to the fact that their money was grabbed by the street elite.

Gordon_Gekko's picture

With you there, deadhead. Seems like the other politicos have noticed the attention and popularity Ron Paul is getting with his Fed campaign, and they want a piece of the action for themselves.

deadhead's picture

absolutely correct.  it will be interesting to see if the goldman et al wall st/banking mess becomes a pivotal issue in the mid-terms, which will begin to  occupy 100% of Rahm's et al time schedules starting, say, yesterday.  if the Repubs are smart enough to pick up on it, they may have a shot at getting back some seats.  if I were king of the Repubs, I might start the mantra that the banks and wall st have been screwing all of you Americans and the Obamas have taken it to a new level by sub contracting the USA to a bunch of Goldman alumni.

VegasBD's picture

Good idea. In the game of politics thats might just work. Spinning 'the govt was h anded to GS by obama's appointees' could go a long way. Specially when we have a couple more crashes and all the exotic loans start doing their resets, can really capitalize on what should be obvious by now, another crash coming.

Anonymous's picture

Hate those Obama appt like Hank Paulson.

Bob's picture

An ironic flip of the script, but true. 

agrotera's picture

If they fell for the TARP con, they should get voted out!

Anonymous's picture

smart enough to sink indymac and let his contributors cherry pick the left overs.
Yes, that could be playing both sides of the fence.

Oso's picture

GG - agreed, it is a very sad state of affairs. 


This is phenomenal news, but we cant let it stop.  A full petition would be great, anything that Schumer can use to support his case that this is "the people's will" will be helpful.  Others on the Banking committee might get behind it....