Wednesday, July 29, 2009

High Frequency Trading's 15 Minutes?

Is high frequency trading on its way out? Although high frequency trading does not appear to harm anyone particularly, it is certainly getting its 15 minutes of fame and then some. Even CNBC jumped on it briefly, although Maria Bartiromo looked pretty bored when talking to Pipeline and ITG about it the other day. I am waiting for Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh to denounce it as the ultimate evil. Meanwhile the London Stock Exchange has said it will stop paying rebates to high frequency traders. The LSE's new CEO Xavier Rolet is either very brave or he sees the writing on the wall. Rebates for volume were intended to draw business to the newer ECN venues such as BATs and Chi-X. They were never intended to be a significant money-maker for traders. The LSE has decided it will end the rebates, even as it loses volume to the European newcomers. It may be too easy, but I can easily link Rolet with the US Treasury and the SEC - both of whom should have some idea what is in the cards for high frequency traders. Rolet used to work for - wait for it - Goldman Sachs. His boss was Robert Rubin. Guess who else worked for Robert Rubin when he was at the Treasury Department? Timothy Geithner. And Lawrence Summers. The guys who are deciding the course of regulation to come. I'm just saying.


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