This should be interesting –
(Reuters) – U.S. securities regulators have taken the unprecedented step of asking high-frequency trading firms to hand over the details of their trading strategies, and in some cases, their secret computer codes.
The requests for proprietary code and algorithm parameters by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a Wall Street brokerage regulator, are part of investigations into suspicious market activity, said Tom Gira, executive vice president of FINRA’s market regulation unit.
“It’s not a fishing expedition or educational exercise. It’s because there’s something that’s troubling us in the marketplace,” he said in an interview.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, meanwhile, has also begun making requests for proprietary algorithmic trading data as part of its authority to examine financial firms for compliance with U.S. regulations, according to agency officials and outside lawyers.
HFT fans have always trumpeted the argument that it provides liquidity to the market yet this is not what was seen during the flash crash when liquidity suddenly and completely evaporated and markets briefly lost $1 trillion in market capitalisation.
To my amateur eye HFT reminds me more of a complex form of front running whereby firms ran ahead of their clients in an attempt to make easy coin.