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Paul Wilmott: "High-Frequency Trading May Increasingly Destabilize The Market"

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Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:40 | 18072 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Wilmott's issue is not the same issue you've had with HFT...Wilmott does not purport any wrongdoing with HFT, simply that it adds volatility.

In fact, his issue really isn't even so much with HFT, but that of different trading styles (providing vs. taking liquidity).

Always interesting to hear Wilmott's take, but this article lacks substance imo.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:51 | 18082 somethingisrotten
somethingisrotten's picture

Man, I would love to see behind the mask, err I mean bag, of these GS employees.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:42 | 18124 erich
erich's picture

Amen!  When clueless, revert to mention of GS!  Case CLOSED!

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:59 | 18143 somethingisrotten
somethingisrotten's picture

It appears from the market trading since light was shone on this disgusting topic that non-HFT traders have voted - they consider it illegal by all standard definitions..

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:04 | 18148 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

And clearly they are the smartest people in the room.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 13:25 | 18314 svendthrift
svendthrift's picture


Wed, 01/26/2011 - 10:51 | 905930 suedallin
Sun, 03/27/2011 - 20:47 | 1107069 anthurium
anthurium's picture

Not a chance, unless I get 100 to 1 odds. These HFT geniuses are going to cause another  flash crash at some point. I just hope I'm out of the market when it happens. anthurium

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:18 | 18103 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Willmott's issue with HFT is very different from Joe and Themis Trading (and until reading your conclusion I believed ZH position). He does not claim flash orders are illegal or front running. He does raise the systemic risk inherent in HFT which is vital to discuss. Unfortunately, this issue has been completely missed by most people discussing HFT. Instead most have focus on the simple and populous issues of fairness, order types, and front running. Thank you for bring his editorial to our attention.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 12:05 | 18226 KidDynamite
KidDynamite's picture

BINGO. this is the key.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 14:54 | 18425 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I heart fairness. IOC orders should be active for at least 1 second, and frontrunning in all it's forms should be illegal and apparently is not.

Those droids are the ones I'm looking for, capiche?

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:23 | 18107 zeropointfield (not verified)
zeropointfield's picture

So crashing the market is a good thing?
Thanks for sharing your worldview and letting us know what motivates you in life.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:31 | 18114 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Please show where any of us state that crashing the market was a good thing? My point was that we should discuss the systemic risks associated with HFT and not if an order type most dont understand, is front running. Thank you for adding zero value to this discussion.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:26 | 18179 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

all this running up on no real merit is what causes that drastic crashes - that is what ZH et all is trying to prevent


why is BAC shooting up while everyone else is bleeding today??


bots are firing!

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 13:46 | 18344 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

You say the run up has no merit. I'm pretty confident I can find a number of people who control very large sums of money that will disagree with you. If as you say, it has no merit, wouldn't that present an awesome opportunity for you to take the other side?

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 14:57 | 18432 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Not if they are manipulating the market, squidboy. You're too easy.

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 15:28 | 1385930 Hremas
Hremas's picture

Very good article Tyler,good work dude!

forex trading signals

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:18 | 18167 Hondo
Hondo's picture

Wilmott doesn’t purport there isn’t any wrong doing either.  He assume all information is publically available.  Well, news…. flashes aren’t publically available. 

When everyone is doing the same thing (remember the HF’s in the summer of 2007 ) then things will get nasty very quickly when sentiment changes (and it always does).  When 70% of the volume in the market is from one strategy (that proclaims to be adding liquidity but isn’t and won’t when the sentiment changes) then big moves in the market are destine to happen and there is no way to get out of the way when it does.  These kinds of moves are very destabilizing to the economy as a whole due to their effect on wealth, consumption and investment (to say little of the effect of government deficits to try and bring back balance to the overall economy.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 14:35 | 18399 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

> "flashes aren’t publically available. "

Yes they are. You simply sign up for the right account, pay a fee and sign up for them.

Is news in the WSJ not publicly available because you have to buy a subscription?

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 18:58 | 18716 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Umm, just so you know, HFT consists of HUNDREDS of different strategies.

Sun, 05/29/2011 - 03:26 | 1320323 SampsonHelix
SampsonHelix's picture

Everything that too excessive are not good. It's also apply for trading.


Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:45 | 18075 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

Unfortunately you seem to have missed both the gist of Wilmott's piece, as well as my original contention from the original linked article. Happy to provide the conclusion from that piece:

"So what happens in a world where the very core of the capital markets
system is gradually deleveraging to a point where maintaining a liquid
and orderly market becomes impossible: large swings on low volume,
massive bid-offer spreads, huge trading costs, inability to clear and
numerous failed trades. When the quant deleveraging finally catches up
with the market, the consequences will likely be unprecedented, with
dramatic dislocations leading the market both higher and lower on
record volatility

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:32 | 18115 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I had a longer response typed up which didn't post, but basically my point is Wilmott doesn't take issue with HFT per se but with everyone following the same strategy. HFT happens to be the strategy, it could've been anything else. HFT is the scapegoat here, unless any illegal wrongdoing is brought into the mix.

He implies no illegal activity in HFT, which is another argument altogether.

I think we're on the same page in terms of whether HFT does actually provide liquidity or not and whether the concentration of power is a good thing or not....I just see Wilmott's article as taking a slightly less aggressive stance on HFT than what's been put forth on ZH in the past.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:46 | 18131 erich
erich's picture

ZH makes numerous conspiracy sightings each day, so one has to be careful when stating ZH has not made the same claim as Wilmott.

I think it is clear that the notion volume = liquidity is a mistake, and both ZH and Wilmott agree on that.  It also seems clear to me that for exchanges to rent out special access server space is unfair and should be stopped.  I would like to know if Wilmott and others agree with that.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:09 | 18157 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Agree with you on most points- but anyone can co-locate. If it adds value to your business you will co-locate. Its like saying its not fair one business purchases better, more expensive real estate for their store. No one rents special access servers- they rent an office closer to the line so they get data a bit faster than someone who rents an office further away.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:47 | 18077 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

To which the golden boys respond, if you take away our license to steal it will be your fault when the market crashes.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the fifth- biggest U.S. bank by assets, said attempts to curb speculation may be “disruptive” to markets.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:54 | 18137 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

HFT is not illegal but HFT does allow power to be concentrated into the hands of a few. I appreciate the comment that Goldman Sachs has a monopoly on the capital markets both in information and trade execution. This is purely an antitrust issue and should be pursued by the Government---channeling the Trust Busting of Teddy R.

The above comment that GS will destroy this market if they don't get their way has already been proven in Fall of 2008.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:55 | 18138 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

HFT is not illegal but HFT does allow power to be concentrated into the hands of a few. I appreciate the comment that Goldman Sachs has a monopoly on the capital markets both in information and trade execution. This is purely an antitrust issue and should be pursued by the Government---channeling the Trust Busting of Teddy R.

The above comment that GS will destroy this market if they don't get their way has already been proven in Fall of 2008.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 19:22 | 18741 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

"...Goldman Sachs has a monopoly on the capital markets both in information and trade execution"

A monopoly in trading volume, maybe, but I don't think they have a monopoly in trading execution. Maybe, just maybe, they are a few micro seconds faster than the other big banks, but I don't think that qualifies as a monopoly.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:08 | 18151 ShankyS
ShankyS's picture

BINGO! Ring the bell we have a winner here. GS has come to our government at a time of need as the white knight. Lo and behold to our leaders surprise GS became so entrenched that they can not be removed from the system without causing systemic collapse at a time when government power teeters on the brink and we can least afford it. They are dammed if they do and damned if they don't. They want power and control, so guess which way they decide?

Problem that TD is pointing out is that the white knight's system will eventually fail as power coils and condenses at the top. Then it crumbles. In the mean time to protect against this future event they remove shorting possibilities which will further exacerbate the fall when it occurs. We're fucked one way of the other.

I am pleased that this is being addressed, but GS's power base is so well entrenched and they are making so much money that the worse of the two scenarios will happen first. Flash will be done away with as "regulatory reform" occurs while not addressing the larger problem (similar to CDS issues). They sew up the wound but don't perform the required surgery to fix the problem. 

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:46 | 18197 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

just like the english boys did in that 20's crash and also what they did to Jackson when he got the US out of debt


they play the games and the sheep are their army

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:47 | 18078 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

The increased dynamics of these topics in various areas of society is the desired natural progression of the work that has been applied to this point.  I am sure that TD and many of the much more informed that I am among the participants here have carefully considered how those that oppose our efforts will attempt to deflect and alter the discussion and potential outcomes.  In this careful consideration and enhancement of the flows of information and consideration of specific reactions to stimuli will be most instructive.

Keep up the pressure.  The dynamics of the deep strike continue to apply.  Best wishes.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:51 | 18080 DebtorShredder
DebtorShredder's picture

MORE HEDGE FUNDS WILL COLLAPSE: You can always start a new one. Hell, start two at the same time, one buys, the other sells!

Auditting the FED may yield.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:21 | 18166 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

comment moved to new relevant thread

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 09:57 | 18088 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Trader on Bloomberg says markets are manipulated and volumes 'ficticious'.


Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:11 | 18095 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

We used to have flowing waves of amber. Now it's flowing waves of cesspool provided by Goldman and JP.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:14 | 18097 Anonymous
Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:59 | 18140 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Gee, that sure changed from the article I read this morning!

It was also, curiously, one where the 'positive' main page headline was drastically different from the actual article. I suspect that data has been so massaged since this morning that it's now out having a cigarette.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:17 | 18102 Anonymous
Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:35 | 18118 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

The problem with Brownian dispersions is that eventually everything turns to sh*t. That is no assumption but reality.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 10:39 | 18123 amarshall
amarshall's picture

Great, we didn't need the NYSE anyway

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:02 | 18145 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I think there was nothing new learned in the op-ed that some people already know which is if everybody is perfectly hedged then nobody is. The point is that everyone seems to think there is more liquidity and hence their stop losses or what not would be good enough, except when that liquidity suddenly disappears. You could apply the same thing to the US bond market, which everyone thinks is most liquid. Some day it won't be so. In a zero sum game everyone cannot win that's why complacency precedes a crash.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:47 | 18201 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

HFTs are just another reason why no average joe retail should participate in the stock market. It's a total sham with the market heavyweights trying to take your money away. Wall street needs retails in the market to take your money.. no retails means they canibalize each other

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 11:52 | 18213 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Wilmott is brilliant. Most commentors here are clueless -- HFT is a tiny portion of GS revenues.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 12:26 | 18254 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

OK anon 18213, show us our ignorance. Show us your brilliance.

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 12:48 | 18278 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

Joe Saluzi is on the Bloomberg today talking about Flash trading:



Wed, 07/29/2009 - 14:09 | 18365 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Anything that constitutes 70% of all trading will destabilize the market when the sh*t hits the fan

Wed, 07/29/2009 - 14:51 | 18422 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Bubble markets and irrationally depressed markets have always existed, as have intense periods of volatility.

There were no computers buying tulips in Amsterdam, railroad stocks in London or crashing the US markets in the 30s.

Nor were there computers selling stock to irrationally low values compared to expecter income streams in the 60s and 70s.

Humans as a group are far less rational than computers when it comes to trading... and the volatility and boom/bust cycles are primarily of human making.

If you lost money in 2008 and are blaming it on the HF traders, I suggest a quick peek in the mirror followed by a re-read of Benjamin Grahams 'The Intelligent Investor'.

Prices took a beating not because computers ran them up and then down, but because human speculators ran them up, and there was finally no greater fool to sell to.

> Anything that constitutes 70% of all trading will destabilize the market when the sh*t hits the fan

I disagree. The computers will still be there looking for things to buy on the cheap when the markets are falling, whereas human nature is to run for the hills compounding steep market moves downward.

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