Shortly after we reported the latest market-rigging scandal, in which ITG was busted for frontrunning sellside clients in its dark pool in what has been since dubbed a "trading experiment" (because it sounds better than criminal conspiracy to defraud clients), and which will cost the company a record for a private Wall Street firm $22 million settlement, we had one question for AQR's Cliff Asness yesterday morning: "Hi @Cimmerian999, is Hitesh Mittal the AQR employee who was formerly at ITG and is part of the SEC settlement?" We got no answer from the AQR head, but luckily Bloomberg noticed, and as it turns out the answer to our question was a resounding yes.
"Defendants used electronic chatrooms, instant messaging, and other electronic and telephonic methods to exchange confidential customer information, coordinate trading strategies. Traders at some of these primary dealers talked with counterparts at other banks via online chatrooms and swapped gossip."
But... but... they just provide liquidity.
"Exchanges around the world are avidly wooing high-frequency traders, those controversial speed demons of Wall Street. Despite the often explosive debate over this kind of trading in the U.S., bourses in Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and beyond are trying to lure HFT types to boost business," Bloomberg reports.
We warned previously that when (not if) the market crashes next, The Fed is going to need a scapegoat (other than British traders living at home with their parents) and judging by The Fed's Lael Brainard's comments today, high-frequency-traders (HFT) are in the crosshairs. Crucially, Brainard warns that HFT "may amplify market shocks," and The Fed is "studying possible changes in liquidity resilience."
"China's market is highly inefficient, which means it's relatively easy to produce absolute returns. Chinese retail investors don't have any advantage over us."
Over the years many have wondered how it was possible that a hedge fund could exist that did nothing more than ride momentum and heatmaps higher or lower without almost any insight into the fundamentals of the underlying corporations. That hedge funds, of course, is John A. Thaler's JAT Capital, which did nothing but buy the most talked about, "storied" momo stocks and ride them higher. Or lower, as the case may be. Because the hedge fund which only managed $3.7 billion as of March 31 just because it was a Tiger Management spin off, is no more.
If the DOJ and CFTC is going to be consistent, then they have to indict the entire financial community from the CME, Exchanges, Brokers, Institutions, Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, Management Funds and High Frequency Trading Firms.
Today, we find precisely how and why Sarao was singled out: he not only ratted out the parasitic trading strategies of the real culprits behind the broken market, the massive HFT firms (such as Virtu which just went public just a day before the Sarao charges were filed) which gave the "regulators" no choice: one of them had to be put away for good, but found a way to capitalize on the algos' stupidity, and actually make money by beating them at their own game. As such, regulators and exchanges such as the CFTC and CME had no choice but arrest him and prevent him from trading ever again!
Behold The Patsy: First Photograph Emerges Of The "Criminal Mastermind" Reponsible For The Flash CrashSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/22/2015 12:02 -0400
There have been precious few actual glimpses of the infamous flash crash mastermind who has seemingly kept a very low public profile, but moments ago the first sketch emerged of him during his court appearance. As the NYT reports, "appearing in court in London dressed in a canary yellow sweatshirt and white track suit pants, the trader, Navinder Singh Sarao, a British national, sat behind a glass wall looking dazed by the proceedings around him." We, too would be dazed by the stupidity of the CFTC, if faced with the same ridiculous charge. And moments ago, the Telegraph ran the first actual photo of the "criminal mastermind."
"Defendants' use of the Layering Algorithm and the 188/289-Lot Spoofing intensified throughout the day. At 11:17 a.m. CT, Defendants turned the Layering Algorithm on for more than two consecutive hours, until 1 :40 p.m. CT. During this cycle, Defendants utilized the Layering Algorithm to place five orders, totaling 3,000 contracts. A sixth order was added at around 1:13 p.m. CT, increasing the total to 3,600 contracts.... Between 11:17 a.m. CT and 1:40 p.m. CT, Defendants' actions contributed to an extreme order book imbalance in the E-mini S&P market. This order book imbalance contributed to market conditions that caused theE-mini S&P price to fall361 basis points."
- FUTURES TRADER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED ROLE IN 2010 FLASH CRASH
- FUTURES TRADER CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY MANIPULATING STOCK MKT
- SARAO HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH COMMODITIES, WIRE FRAUD: GOELMAN
- SARAO WAS ARRESTED AT HIS HOME IN LONDON TODAY, GOELMAN SAYS
- CFTC FILES CIVIL CASE AGAINST NAVINDER SINGH SARAO
Here is Bernanke's new job: to make sure that Citadel's 7.4x leverage only keeps rising, and that its "true" regulatory assets of $175.8 billion follow. Because if there is one thing Bernanke has experience with, it's lots and lots of leverage.
Back in 2009, when aside from a few insiders, nobody had heard of HFT, Zero Hedge launched its crusade to expose the algorithmic scourge that has since then caused an equity, treasury and now US Dollar flash crash, and has been the subject of a Michael Lewis bestseller and resulted in countless market halts and failures. More importantly, there is now roughly 50 pages of just bibliography citing the evidence-based, academic research that has shown just how pervsavibely, maliciously and premeditatedly HFTs manipulate, destabilize, impair and otherwise destroy every single market in which they participate.
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