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April 2, 2014

Press Statement: “Flash Boys” Puts a Flashlight on Dark, Predatory High Frequency Trading

Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the financial markets, made the following statement about the current debate around high frequency trading:

“Michael Lewis’ new must-read book ‘Flash Boys,’ about high frequency computer trading (HFT), has focused public attention on how much of today’s markets are rigged by insiders for insiders. He shines a bright light on dark, unregulated, predatory HFT. Too many manipulative and abusive practices are moving tens of billions of dollars from the pockets of investors and retirees into the pockets of HFT firms, Wall Street banks and their enablers like the exchanges.”

“None of this is news to Better Markets, which has been pushing regulators and policymakers for years to take action to stop predatory HFT, which is not only ripping off investors and retirees, but is also destroying confidence in our markets. Over the last three years, Better Markets has filed 15 comment letters with the SEC and CFTC focusing on or discussing HFT and has had numerous meetings urging them to take action. In addition, Better Markets’ staff has testified often before Senate and House committees on the problems caused by HFT and the need for strong, clear rules to stop abuses and illegal conduct.”

“Unfortunately, regulators, policymakers and prosecutors have been AWOL in fighting or stopping predatory HFT. While not all HFT is bad, there is a mountain of independent evidence demonstrating that too much of it is and that HFT provides too few benefits to investors, retirees and markets. It is past time for regulators and policy makers to stop predatory HFT and require registration, reporting and disclosure as well.”

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