Open Letter To The SEC's Worthless Enforcement Division

Tyler Durden's picture

From reader QevolveQ Holdings

Sent 10-21-10 to SEC Enforcement Division

To Whom It May Concern,

I have a question. Why does the SEC allow high frequency traders/co-location traders/etc., to front run retail orders every day in almost every security? When I say front run, I mean the practice of utilizing sub-penny orders whereby these so called traders step in front of real bids and offers by 1/100th of a penny to get the trade done, knowing there's a bid or offer right behind them. This has happened to me at least fifty times in the last year. It is particularly a problem on illiquid issues in which the sub-penny order that front runs my orders may be the only business done at that level. And so my order just sits there and never gets filled.

This exact scenario in fact happened again today, as I was a 700 share bid at $6.10 in PROV from 11:39am till the close. At 2:26pm 450 shares were executed at 6.1007. On 450 shares that is equivalent to just 31 cents better than my 6.10 bid. And that sub-penny trader got the order instead of me because they were able to front run me without even showing a bid in the market (i.e. the 6.1007 print just magically appears on the tape with no bid having been shown there in the Level II system). I would gladly have paid that price, but of course I'm retail and cannot use sub-penny increments.

I hope somebody at the SEC actually reads this. I would very much appreciate a response as well. Please tell me, why is this practice (among others) allowed for some market participants and not others? It is a complete ripoff in my opinion. Our equity market has become a total farce because such practices are allowed. I have little to no faith that I am operating on a fair and level playing field. The marketplace has become dominated by machines and those with the highest levels of capital to deploy. The average retail investor like myself is simply left to be exploited by the robots of greed. These practices are not going unnoticed, and I want to voice my opinion that this nonsense happens in the equity market every day. In my opinion, it is deplorable and likely responsible for investors' seeming lack of confidence in this rigged financial system we are forced to operate in.


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CPL's picture

Let them.

If the economists in the position are that bad at math let them.  We will see them all out of job in two years.  The rest of us can make our own economy from proper trade and barter.  Fuck'em.

SloSquez's picture

Dear MQ,

You suck, we don't!  See the "Disgustipated"  -

ala Tool



i-dog's picture

You're not far off what will happen!

Sadly, this letter requests no remedy and offers no consequences for a failure to respond or act. It will probably not even get a reply.

The last time I wanted a remedy, I circulated copies to about 7 different competing regulatory bodies -- bureaucratic, political and NGO. I got what I wanted (5 police suspended, 2 fired and 1 in prison) because each recipient was afraid that one of the others would act.

i-dog's picture

"What'd the cops do?"

Pissed me off ... by harassing a friend. (literally!)

Azannoth's picture

After my motorbike was stolen, I emailed the chief inspector for the city(a capitol city no the less) to do something about it, like rig some motorbikes with GPS devices and track the thiefs, I got no reply for like 2 weeks, than I forwarded the email to a newspaper letting the other guy know, I got a reply in 2 day after that, although I highly doubt he actually did anything about it, Use the damn CC to as may people as u can

knukles's picture

Of course nobody at the SEC's gonna read it.  The body of the letter didn't include the tag words "New Tranny Porn".

toddcfairchild's picture

Agreed with the tactics here but what a ridiculous claim by douche-o here that he got 5 cops suspended, 1 fired and 1 in jail for "harassing his friend."

i-dog's picture

"ridiculous claim by douche-o"

A typical twitter-ish comment on ZH by the Twit generation! Wait till your IQ exceeds your shoe size before commenting in future.

FWIW: As part of their harassment of said friend, I also had a gun held to my head. But it was their corruption (including perjury to obtain a search warrant) and mafia-style harassment of my friend, which he was too timid to pursue, that I used to bring them down.

It wasn't even the gun to my head that got me fired up, it was their cocky arrogance! When my friend asked them why they had smashed in the glass front door instead of pressing the doorbell, the senior sergeant pointed to his sledgehammer and said: "That's my doorbell, sonny!" That was when I decided they were definitely going to lose their jobs!

In your defence, I should add that it is normal for a slave to disbelieve something of which you would never be capable.

arby63's picture

What kind of fool bullshit do you spew forth idiot?

Cameli's picture

Likely responsible? Totally you mean. Good luck in getting a response. Mary is too busy spending her $9mil. Bonus to bother about trivial little sH1ts like us.

kato's picture

Thank you. It is an unbelieveable screw job [not to mention the other corrupt Shenanigans]. Does the CME allow CME Members to front run? NO! The electronic Futures markets are the only reasonably fair markets there now are. The SEC is just Dumb and Stupid. Thank you ZH.

Dixie Normous's picture

Are you kidding?  The electronic futures markets are totally fucked! Have you seen the likes of cotton lately (granted that's ICE but they all play the game)? Limit down, limit up, limit down oversees, limit up here.  Post 9PM est rallies where someone (or something) lifts every offer in one lots regardless of the huge spreads. It's a fucking monkey circus.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Agreed, I've actually made quite a bit of money over the last several months by simply buying an ETF on anything that drops more than 3 points, and then selling it the next day whenever it goes up 1.5 points.  It works way, way too often for this not to be manipulation (I'm seriously talking about a 94% success rate, it's hilarious).

zen0's picture

 A letter like that needs to have a name and address, and note that it has been Copied to your political representative, plus maybe a lawyer, though usually the above will do.


Politicos count one letter as 800 votes.  If you make it a matter of record, rather than an opinion piece (open letter), they have to deal with it somehow. Then you go from there.


You have to make a paper trail or they do not have to respond at all.

RobotTrader's picture

In my opinion, the "Algos On Acid" moves in the after market on NFLX, AMZN, etc. is a far more serious issue to deal with than these measly penny frontfunning antics.

Look what happened to the bloke who got his NFLX short filled with the stock was down 10 last night, only to see it rocket 25 points in the after hours and other 10 points the next day.

SloSquez's picture

The velocity is becoming obsurd.  Enjoy your posts Robo!!!

Cistercian's picture

 They have made crushing shorts into a bloodsport.

tip e. canoe's picture

with the full faith & credit of ours truly of course.

'algos on acid' : good robo, very good.

you got an HST inside you after all.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

It seems like more slice-and-rip than crush.  Just sayin'.

firstdivision's picture

There was also an interesting spike in SPY.  This really is getting out of hand at the moment.

max2205's picture

Lots of strange prints around 7 ish. I thought the dollar crashed

max2205's picture

Tonight Amzn trades ah 165 then bamm 153. BIDU 98 then bamm 105.

Bamm bamm Damn!

doolittlegeorge's picture

both these points are very scary indeed but i think also point to a "regime that we are being forced to follow."  i'm still unclear if this was the Fed's intentions when they began QE but "force feeding the people into equities" has clearly been the result since there has been no other rational place for cash to be put to work.  needless to say "the market guys know this." the SEC long ago it appears gave up on the idea of calling balls and strikes.  at a certain level it is a governmental disease demanded due to "elections."  how much longer can the American people stand such things?

Turd Ferguson's picture

MQ: I hope you got some kind of medicinal happiness out of complaining because that's all your gonna get. Well, that and the proverbial middle finger. Sorry.

Problem Is's picture

"Why does the SEC allow high frequency traders/co-location traders/etc., to front run retail orders every day in almost every security?"

Answer: Because Times Are Tough
Lloyd must extract his bonus from the schlep retail investors and every other orifice available...

Next Question Please...

aint no fortunate son's picture

It happens because the Too Big To Jails WANT it to happen. They own the fucken SEC and you don't and that's the end of it. When you own the Administration, the CONgress and the fucking regulators you too can trade subpennies and get a husky ripping off honest people. Do yourself a favor - I wrote them a couple of times years ago to complain about various egregious shit and they never even acknowledged the letters, which made me start thinking about doing the kind of shit that gets the black helicopters filing flight plans over my house. It just ain't worth the time and negative energy. Let the fucken helicopters go looking for Tyler... he drives them batshit. Drive on, and when the time comes maybe, just maybe the shoe will be on the other foot.

doolittlegeorge's picture

they have reason to fear this, too. equity guys are like "the test pilots of finance."  CRAZY.  next thing you know "they're the one's going to the moon."  Governments do things like Tom Keene says "expect the unexpected." We've sailed into uncharted waters...

system failure's picture

SEC no longer functions as a regulatory agency. Hence worth, you are wasting your time by complaining to them. However, I applaud your efforts as the obvious response to your inquiry form the SEC will be that they want all robots trading the markets only, since they are essentially fairy tale land anyway. Nobody trades the markets and retailers are pulling their money out of the rigged game faster than the SEC can download the lastest porn available on the net.  

cowdiddly's picture

exactly. The letter is a noble gesture but it will just get the canned response email I used to get so many times back when I used to write them about naked shorting after I bought 240k of shares in a OTC company that the certs turned out were counterfeit. Never nothing done and money never refunded. 5 years later I still have the frozen, then delisted shares in my acct. but never legally existed. Total waste of time. Sad. This was when I learned that this whole electronic stock thing is nothing more that a giant fraud. Ever since, when an if I buy a stock I just pretend I just bought a big steaming pile and try to unload for small profits quickly. All you can do in a market this corrupt..

Kat's picture

The SEC functions EXACTLY like a regulatory agency - in other words, not as intended.

Read up on "regulatory capture".

The last concern of the SEC is retail.  Retail is irrelevant.

Bankster T Cubed's picture

LOL!  The SEC doesn't give a fuck about anything other than protecting their masters, the big broker/dealers like GFS, JPFM, MFS, etc.

Here is their response to you: fuck off go away

max2205's picture

Please stop bothering us at the SEC we are investigating new porn sites. Really

Everyman's picture

DANG!  You beat me to it.  I was going to post that there is som Brazilian Fart Porn or Jaoanese Vomit porn that the SEC has not "tossed off " to yet.  The "investigation" is incomplete.

I mean REALLY?  The SEC is not going to take out this obvious fraud corrupt crap?  Really?  The level to wit these twits bury their heads in the sand or just "go through the motions" of showing up for a paycheck everyday is astounding.

You would think somebody ther has some iota of Pride or Ethics?  I mean, REALLY?  Something this obvious and they can't or won't stop it? 

Audit the Fed do away with it and shut down the SEC.  They don't enforce, investigate, and apparently the last two judges rejected every investor complaint for the last 20 years.

When is it time to start shooting idiots, sycophants, and go alongs in the f-ing head????  Voting sure doesn't work and apparently neither does the law.

Cistercian's picture

 Perhaps the SEC never helps because people fail to include hot new porn links with their complaints.

  And if anyone tries this and succeeds, a whole new market of porn trolling the web to appease the unholy appetites of the SEC could be created.........

 or not.

Everyman's picture

+ 10.  Could you imagine working at the SEC.  OH, silly me, I mean "showing up to put your time in" not "working".  Working there and having all this embarassing crap haunt you at every turn.

Problem Is's picture

"Please stop bothering us at the SEC we are investigating new porn sites."

Note: Mary likes anal porn...

zen0's picture

Letters to bureaucrats and Department heads copied to political reps. That is how the system works.


Most of you write copious amounts of opinion, but it is all air unless you back it up with hard copy.

In a stamped envelope with a return address.

Everyman's picture

HFT's the SEC KNOWS about and they are quite aware of it and even the institutional traders are sick of this shit.  They are looking the other way out of impotence, incoherence, incopentence, INCONTENCE, or they are being paid.

Any way you slice it is a plie os steaming shit!  OH, I forgot of the scat porn that the SEC Investigators like?

squid_pro_quo's picture

I think he meant to say "taped to an unstamped brick and thrown through a window"

fajensen's picture

I hear that the post office will pursue the recipient of an under-paid letter endlessly with angry letters - so write your complaint on a roofing tile and mail that to them using a small-value stamp (just dont put a return address on the thing) or maybe include a huge load of used porn mags To Insure Prompt Service?