Unfair to Blame High-Frequency Trading for Market Crashes, The Speed Traders’ Edgar Perez to CNBC’s Oriel Morrison

Posted on July 6, 2011. Filed under: Exchanges, Flash Crash, Practitioners, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Edgar Perez, Author, The Speed Traders: An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World, spoke with CNBC Cash Flow’s Oriel Morrison about the criticism high-frequency trading has experimented since it started being covered by the mainstream media; the interview is available on CNBC’s website at http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=2023403523.

Oriel Morrison with Edgar Perez

Oriel Morrison with Edgar Perez

CNBC’s Oriel Morrison, in particular, asked Mr. Perez his opinion regarding the criticism high-frequency trading has received. “Edgar, let’s take a look at some of the criticism because there has been a lot of controversy with kind of trading. Now, fairness has certainly been an issue that has been raised when it comes to this. Can there be fairness without transparency because with the speed of these trades, you simply you can’t get the transparency that you may well have if you have an institution putting on a big trade at any one point in time?”

Mr. Perez pointed out that some of the criticism is unfair and doesn’t address the right issues. “As I mention in my book, The Speed Traders, there has been a lot of criticism since 2009. And, I think that was influenced by the flash crash that happened last year. When that happened, people thought, ‘This is high-frequency traders. They are there in the market. They were not 10 years ago, so flash crashes didn’t happen before.’ But to be fair, we have market crashes all the time. We had the Great Depression. We had Black Monday. And, in those cases, you cannot say that high-frequency trading was prevalent. So, if you look at those occasions, long term investors are always the catalysts. Humans are very emotional and when they see bad news – and that’s what happened on May 6th – they will try to sell. Of course, computers in that day – May 6th – contributed to that decline in the markets in a very quick fashion. But at the same time, once the market came down, the market went up again very quickly because of computers. So, if you look at Black Monday, it took a month for the markets to recover. In this case, with the flash crash, it took 20 minutes for the market to recover. So, definitely, computers accelerate changes but it will be unfair to exclusively blame computers for this.”

The Speed Traders, http://www.TheSpeedTraders.com, published by McGraw-Hill Inc., is the most comprehensive, revealing work available on the most important development in trading in generations. High-frequency trading will no doubt play an ever larger role as computer technology advances and the global exchanges embrace fast electronic access. The Speed Traders explains everything there is to know about how today’s high-frequency traders make millions—one cent at a time.

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