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April 12, 2021

Better Markets Files Amicus Brief in the Fight Against Predatory High-Frequency Trading

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 12, 2021

Contact: Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or prussell@bettermarkets.com

Washington, D.C.  –   Stephen Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist for Better Markets, issued the following statement on the filing of an amicus brief defending a new order type that will help retail investors fight back against high-frequency trading (“HFT”) abuses, in the case of Citadel Securities LLC v. Securities and Exchange Commission pending before the D.C. Circuit:

“The outcome of this case will have a huge impact on the ability of everyday investors to protect their money from being siphoned away by HFT firms like Citadel. That’s why we weighed in to help defend a new order type developed by IEX, an investor-friendly exchange that has earned our praise since it was founded in 2016. The SEC rightly approved that order type late last year, but Citadel is fighting to protect its ability to generate near-certain profits—to print money in effect—through privileged data access and sophisticated trading technology.

“HFTs spend enormous sums of money to get a sneak peek at trading activity on the exchanges before the public sees it, and they buy high-speed computer programs capable of acting on that information in microseconds. As retail investors and millions of Americans planning for retirement place their orders, HFT firms can snap them up and skim off near-certain profits because they know where the market is about to head—up or down.

“It’s not just fundamentally unfair, it’s also a plague on our markets. This sort of HFT activity not only bleeds investors but also drives away large institutional investors. They are the life-blood of our markets, yet because of HFTs’ predatory behavior, they are increasingly turning to alternative trading venues that are safer for them but much less transparent and less regulated than the exchanges. That means less liquidity, transparency, and price discovery on the exchanges, which in turn hurts the market in the long term.

“In our brief, we explained the advantages HFTs enjoy and the harm they inflict on investors.  We also showed how the D-Limit Order, which automatically resets its price when HFTs are about to strike, helps neutralize the HFTs’ unfair advantage. Fortunately for investors, the SEC’s mission is to protect investors and the integrity of the markets, not Citadel’s coveted business model, so it approved the IEX order type in accordance with the securities laws and all the requirements surrounding rulemaking. We urged the Court to affirm the SEC’s decision.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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