High frequency trading (HFT) is parasitic in today’s financial markets. Here’s why HFT is a problem, and what is being done to bring it under control…
Joe Saluzzi, co-founder of Themis Trading LLC, outspoken exchange expert, and author of the excellent exposé Broken Markets, returns to give us an update on the state of high frequency trading — otherwise known as HFT.
In the past, Saluzzi has been a vocal critic of the dominant and parasitic role HFT algorithims play in today’s financial markets, siphoning off profits at the expense of the “dumb money” (i.e. retail investors) while undermining the integrity and stability of exchanges. Front running, spoofing, flash crashes — HFTs are the culprits behind them.
Saluzzi actually has some positive developments to note: namely that the obscene profits the HFTs used to make (i.e., steal) are moderating as the arms race in the industry has escalated and the players are increasingly competing with each other. Also, the SEC appears to be moving much faster now towards putting some material constraints in place.
But the unfair advantages that HFTs enjoy, as well as their threat to market stability, are still very real. If we don’t continue to fight to bring them under control, we risk a vicious downdraft during the next big market crisis should the algos instantly exit in a panic.