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April 8, 2014

High-Frequency Trading Falls in the Cracks of Criminal Law

“Words like “rigged” and “scam,” which have been used to describe how high-frequency trading firms make money in the markets, usually indicate something illegal has occurred. The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., added to that perception when he confirmed at a congressional hearing on Friday that the Justice Department was investigating high-frequency trading “to determine whether it violates insider trading laws.”

“Federal prosecutors will join with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, both of which have been scrutinizing high-frequency trading for some time. The investigations are sure to pick up steam on the heels of the publicity surrounding Michael Lewis’s new book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”

“Mr. Lewis portrays how firms use the advantage of just a few milliseconds to trade ahead of the rest of the investing world to reap profits by snatching the best prices for stocks. This plays into what New York State’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has called “Insider Trading 2.0,” a call for greater regulation of trading to level the investment playing field.”

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Read full NY Times Dealbook article here.

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