Securities and Exchange Commission
On May 6th, 2010, the U.S. stock markets experienced an unusual decline (and an immediate upswing) that temporarily erased $1 trillion in market value (the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged about 1000 points) and puzzled both actors and experts following the markets. Given the ongoing controversy about “flash orders” and its portrayed usage by high-frequency traders, this incident was quickly referred as the flash crash and just as quickly blame fell on the electronic trading industry. While it is true that some high-frequency trading firms stopped running their algorithms when the decline started (human traders stopped participating in the markets in Black Monday as well), some of them stayed in the market, and helped the markets recover just as quickly as the decline happened.
Fast forward two years and we find a twit from the Associated Press with supposedly breaking news that President Obama was injured due to explosions at the White House. That report made $136 billion in market value temporarily disappear, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average quickly dropping 150 points before swinging back.
Examples of dramatic swings can go all the way back to the origins of stock markets. We only need to take a look at Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 508 points, 22.61%; by the end of October, stock markets in the United States had fallen by 22.68%, not showing any improvement for many weeks. Meanwhile, on May 6th, the Dow Jones had regained most of the drop only twenty minutes later.
Like major technology innovations in the past, computer trading was blamed for Black Monday back in 1987; as observed by economist Richard Roll though, program trading strategies were used primarily in the United States, and not in markets such as Australia and Hong Kong where the crisis started. Therefore, it is unsurprising by now that high-frequency trading has been blamed for the flash crash, the now called Twitter crash, and mini-flash crashes of certain stocks, commodities and currencies.
As Manoj Narang, CEO, Tradeworx, says in my book The Speed Traders, no matter what regulators do, there will be times when herd-like behavior among long-term investors will all be stampeding for the exits at the same time, and simply there won’t be enough high-frequency trading to cover the demand for liquidity. That is exactly what happened on May 6th, as described in painstaking detail in the CFTC/SEC report of September 30th, 2010; the report made clear that a mutual fund, identified by Reuters back in May 14 as Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., initiated a program to sell a total of 75,000 E-Mini contracts (valued at approximately $4.1 billion), certainly influenced by the pessimism in the markets due to street protests in Greece, among other reasons; the computer algorithm used to trade the position in the futures markets was set to target an execution rate set to 9% of the trading volume calculated over the previous minute, but without regard to price or time. Similarly, we will always experience technology and human errors. Dave Cummings, Chairman, Tradebot, would ask about the flash crash, “Who puts in a $4.1 billion order without a limit price?” That was the catalyst that initiated the flash crash. Knight Capital Group Inc.’s $440 million trading loss in August 1st, 2012, when the firm lost approximately $10 million per minute, is another recent example that comes to mind.
On March 7th, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Regulation SCI (Systems Compliance and Integrity). As explained by Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar, the proposed rule would move beyond the current voluntary program and require entities to establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that its systems have adequate levels of capacity, integrity, resiliency, availability, and security to maintain the entity’s operational capability and promote the maintenance of fair and orderly markets, mandate participation in scheduled testing of the operation of the entity’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans, including backup systems, and coordinate such testing on an industry- or sector-wide basis with other entities, and finally make, keep, and preserve records relating to the matters covered by Regulation SCI, and provide them to Commission representatives upon request.
Electronic trading, like any other area of finance, should have sensible regulations imposed to promote sound trading practices and protect the average American investor from predatory behavior. If a market participant who does not use high-frequency trading believes that he or she cannot enter into fair transactions, then that individual will not invest in that market. But regulators could restore trust in the market without eliminating high-speed trading. They simply must be armed to analyze trading activity in real time.
In an area of finance predicated on speed, regulation must be as well. Real-time information would allow regulators to see everything that is occurring in the markets, no matter how quickly the order information is being posted and transactions are occurring. This would require significant commitments to invest in both human capital and information technology, but the investment is worthwhile: it is vital for regulators to level the playing field of electronic trading in general.
Real-time policing for potential malfeasance is the most efficient way to regulate high-frequency trading. Analysis of real-time data would provide for effective regulation of these trades. This in turn would provide peace of mind for market participants big and small.
Having spoken with professionals in the world’s most important financial centers, I can attest that America’s capital markets continue being the envy of the world, thanks to the innovation people like high-frequency traders, educated in the country’s top schools, bring to the markets. Let’s allow innovations like high-frequency trading to continue and regulators to police them accordingly, and not try to ban them, as vocal activists tried once with major innovations such as automobiles and derivatives.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Beyond the memories of the recent financial crisis and doubts about the safety and fairness of the equity markets, events such as the Flash Crash of May 2010, the hugely distressing Facebook NASDAQ initial public offering and trading malfunctions at Knight Capital and Nasdaq OMX were wrongly associated with high-frequency trading (HFT) and characterized as shocks to the psyche of average investors. The around $130 billion outflows from domestic equity mutual funds in 2012 led to Joe Saluzzi, co-head of trading at Themis Trading, to say as recently as of December 2012 that “all of those events are confidence-shattering events.”
Furthermore, U.S. congressman Ed Markey tried to persuade the SEC that high-frequency trading was driving investors off the electronic trading highway completely because it was eroding confidence in U.S. markets. Congressman Markey wrote that “sophisticated trading firms can make full use of light speed HFT algorithms, while the ordinary investor day-trading his 401k remains at more terrestrial speeds. There is a real risk that algorithmic trading is making investors hesitant to re-enter the equity markets because they fear that the entire game is rigged.” Ultimately, he proposed that HFT should be curtailed immediately.
Data from Trim Tabs Investment Research appeared to support Mr. Saluzzi and Congressman Markey’s concerns. Their data show outflows from U.S. equity mutual funds in 2008 hit a record $148 billion; in 2009, confidence appeared to be stabilizing as outflows from U.S. equity mutual funds totaled just $28 billion, only to grow again in 2010 to hit $81 billion, $132 billion in 2011 and last year totaled $130 billion. So what would they say now that the Washington-based Investment Company Institute has revealed that equity mutual funds have gathered $29.9 billion in January’s first three weeks, more than for any full month since 2006? Moreover, long-term funds, which exclude money-market vehicles, attracted $64.8 billion in the first three weeks of the month. The previous record was $52.6 billion for all of May 2009.
What was the catalyst of the change in trend? Was HFT suddenly disappearing from the equity markets? As we have suspected in the past, it was the health of the economy. The dysfunctional behavior of the leadership in Washington, leading to a crisis of significant proportions in December 2012, was holding market participants from making investment decisions; when Washington still managed to temporarily solve the fiscal cliff issue, allowing the government to remove its borrowing cap and removing the terrifying prospect of sovereign default, investors rushed into stocks (and bonds too), setting the stage for the biggest month on record for deposits into U.S. mutual funds.
We are looking at forces beyond the niche of algorithmic and high-frequency trading in action here. Signs of improvement in the U.S. economy and a rising stock market (that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 14,000 on February 1 for the first time since 2007) are now prompting Americans to step up their investments. Hiring climbed in January as well, providing further evidence that the U.S. labor market is making progress. As the economy overall makes progress, inflows will increase as more and more households and companies start to invest in the financial markets, creating a net impact in the real economy, and further reinforcing the performance of the markets. Once again, the phrase “it is the economy, stupid!” remains as valid as ever.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
2010年5月的“闪电崩盘”及Facebook在骑士资本和纳斯达克的IPO交易故障等事件，都被错误地与高频交易联系到一起，被描绘为对普通投资者造成灵魂冲击。但真正原因是经济健康问题。It is the economy, stupid。这个短语仍旧有效。
除了与最近一次金融危机有关的记忆以及有关股票市场安全性和公平性的疑问以外，2010年5月份的“闪电崩盘”及Facebook在骑士资本和纳斯达克市场上令人感到非常沮丧的IPO(首次公开招股)交易故障等事件都被错误地与高频交易联系到一起，被描绘为对普通投资者造成了灵魂冲击。Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Financial exchanges play a vital role in economic development as one of the primary tools for the allocation of capital in both developed economies and emerging ones. The indices created using the platforms provided by global exchanges are used by the financial services industry and the government as barometers of economic health and a predictor of national financial well-being.
However, the exchanges model has changed dramatically over the past decade starting with demutualization. The first wave began with the Stockholm Stock Exchange (STO) in 1993 and included the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in 1995 and Borsa Italiana (BVME) in 1997. Demutualization was followed by a second stage in which a number of exchanges became publicly traded and profit-seeking companies listed on their own platform, with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) being the first to follow this model in 1998. Such restructurings are still taking place in exchanges all over the world.
Exchanges have come under increasing regulatory attention. In the US, for instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expanding an enforcement probe into a broader look at how exchanges develop new products, communicate with investors and provide incentives to trade; this was sparked partly by an SEC probe into trading order types apparently benefiting high-speed traders, whose activity comprises more than half of all stock-trading volume.
As companies exercise more flexibility in seeking to raise capital outside their national boundaries, the environment has become even more competitive for exchanges. Furthermore, they are hugely capital intensive (mostly due to the IT infrastructure required for increasingly high frequency trading), reason why some exchanges are looking to grow through acquisitions in order to enjoy greater economies of scale.
While these challenges are common to exchanges worldwide, the impact on their bottom lines has been rather diverse. For instance, the Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) doubled its profit in the first nine months of 2012 compared to last year. While the exchange benefited tremendously from the favorable economic environment and sky-high optimism in the country, there were a number of reforms implemented by the PSE, including the rollout of a new trading system, extension of trading hours and implementation of multiple regulatory and governance enhancements.
London Stock Exchange (LSE) reported a profit for the first half of the year nearly unchanged from last year as strong performance in information services helped offset weak capital markets. The exchange highlighted the benefits of its increasingly diversified international group and the growth from its Information, Post Trade and Technology businesses; the exchange reported a 66 percent increase in Information Services revenue, while Capital Markets revenue dropped 19 percent.
On the other side of the spectrum, NYSE Euronext, the operator of the New York Stock Exchange and other stock exchanges, announced that its third-quarter profit fell 46 percent, which the company attributed to reduced average daily trading volumes, primarily related to its derivatives business. It said its results last year were helped by the extreme volatility of the markets in Europe and the United States due to debt concerns. Certainly, volatility has declined considerably since then, reaching multi-year lows in August 2012.
Exchanges are responding to this increasing competition in a number of ways. Negotiating mergers has been the first option considered by a number of companies, only to be derailed in some cases by regulators or rebuffed by targets. NYSE Euronext face resistance from European regulators on its proposed combination with Deutsche Boerse; ASX’s agreement with Singapore Exchange (SGX) fell through as well; LSE dropped its bid for Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) after its owners spurned them in favor of the bid from a group of Canadian banks and pensions. However, that doesn’t mean that exchanges will not attempt to find combinations that don’t run afoul of regulations, just because mergers almost in all cases strive to provide an avenue to widen their business model and to exploit economies of scale, economies of network, cross selling opportunities and trading hours; for instance in Asia, Tokyo and Hong Kong shortened their midday halt to one hour last year, while Singapore scrapped its lunch break altogether, joining Australia, South Korea and India on the list of exchanges that have uninterrupted trading days.
Second, developing cutting edge-edge technology and its further commercialization is paving the way to extract additional profits from investments already paid. For instance, LSE leveraged its IT investments with the adoption of an outsourced managed services model that allowed the exchange to run other exchanges, such as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, using its own platform. Building a major technology franchise through outsourcing was vital for the LSE if it was to continue to compete with the likes of NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq OMX, which had extended their brand and influence in several emerging markets through major technology deals.
Finally, exchanges are standing up to the challenge of diversifying their business model. Exchanges that were primarily focused on cash trading decided to integrate services such as the trading of derivative financial instruments markets. As it was the case for LSE, information services delivered in machine-readable format are providing growth opportunities for exchanges worldwide; RapiData, company acquired by Nasdaq OMX, enabled the company to deliver U.S. government and other economic news directly from the source to customers interested in receiving information in an electronic feed, giving them instant access to events that are incorporated into algorithmic trading systems. The perennial appetite of high-frequency and algorithmic trading firms for faster access to trading data is also encouraging exchanges to provide colocation services that bring all participants equal access to their matching engines. Ultimately, exchanges will be forced to explore all upstream and downstream opportunities in the production chain of the exchange industry, from the above mentioned information services upstream to the integration of clearing and settlement services downstream.
Revenues at exchanges will need to evolve from its reliance on volume-dependent fees and commissions for a range of activities (including trading, listing, clearing, settlement, depository, custody and nominee services) to uncorrelated income sources that might not have existed just a few years ago; the infrastructure they have, the data they manage and proximity to their matching engine are all key assets that need to be fully exploited if exchanges are to succeed in 2013 and beyond.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
No other than European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny called today for a regulatory ban on high-frequency trading, saying the technique of using computer algorithms to generate multiple high-speed trades had no practical value.
Reading the note from Reuters made me wonder whether Mr. Nowotny had thought about the consequences of a potential ban, when the technique already has more than 50% participation of equities trading in the continent.
“With high-frequency trading there is nothing to be regulated, it is to be banned. There is no really demonstrable net advantage from this (form of trading),” he told a panel discussion at a regulatory conference.
Mr. Nowotny, who heads the Austrian National Bank, would certainly benefit from attending one of my workshops. While I only have New York, September 25, Chicago, October 9, Dubai, October 14, Jakarta, November 16, Shanghai, November 22, and London, December 12, in my calendar for the year, I am faced with the urgent need to take my slides to Austria and add some light where darkness seems to be reigning; at least, I might schedule a stop in the Kitzbühel Alps.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Edgar Perez, The Speed Traders Workshop 2012 Kuala Lumpur, Featured by BFM 89.9, Malaysia’s Top Business Station
Edgar Perez, author of The Speed Traders, and presenter at upcoming The Speed Traders Workshop 2012 Kuala Lumpur: How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX, April 12th, was recently featured by BFM 89.9, Malaysia’s top business station; the podcast can be downloaded at http://www.bfm.my/2012-04-09-speed-traders-edgar-perez.html and http://podcast.bfm.my/podcast/e?file=assets/files/Resource_centre/2012_04_09_Edgar_Speed.mp3&t=High-FrequencyTrading.
Trading of equities on Bursa will be a new ballgame once computer-driven ultra-high frequency trading is introduced, said Mr. Perez, author and former Citigroup vice president. He added that high-speed trading already makes up six per cent of trades on the Bursa derivatives market and the stock exchange operator was reported to be gearing up for the introduction of ultra-fast trading of equities.
“Perez, who is conducting a workshop on HFT in Kuala Lumpur on April 12, also said that in order to minimize the latency of the trading systems, co-location is an inherent part of HFT. ‘As speed traders try to reduce any latency, they will want to trade from computers hosted on the exchanges themselves,’ he said. While such fast trading might not seem to appeal to long-term investors who focus on company fundamentals, Perez said that those with a long investment horizon are adapting some of the techniques HF traders have pioneered.”
Mr. Perez is widely regarded as the preeminent speaker and networker in the specialized area of high-frequency trading. He is author of The Speed Traders, An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World, published by McGraw-Hill Inc. (2011) and currently being translated into Chinese and Portuguese, course director of The Speed Traders Workshop 2012, How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX (Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Seoul, and Kuala Lumpur).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Seoul (South Korea), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Warsaw (Poland), Kiev (Ukraine) and Beijing and Shanghai (China) are just a few of the world’s financial centers where Mr. Edgar Perez, author of The Speed Traders, An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World, will bring his well-attended full-day seminar, The Speed Traders Workshop 2012: How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX.
Mr. Perez is widely regarded as the preeminent speaker and networker in the specialized area of high-frequency trading. He is author of The Speed Traders, An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World, published by McGraw-Hill Inc. (2011) and currently being translated into Chinese and Portuguese, course director of The Speed Traders Workshop 2012, How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX (Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Seoul, and Kuala Lumpur), and founder of Golden Networking.
Mr. Perez has been featured on CNBC Cash Flow (with Oriel Morrison), CNBC Squawk Box (with Geoff Cutmore), BNN Business Day (with Kim Parlee), TheStreet.com (with Gregg Greenberg), Channel NewsAsia Business Tonight and Cents & Sensibilities (with Lin Xue Ling), NHK World, iMoney Hong Kong, Hedge Fund Brief, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Valor Econômico, FIXGlobal Trading, TODAY Online, Oriental Daily News and Business Times.
Mr. Perez has been engaged to present to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CFA Singapore, Hong Kong Securities Institute, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University and Pace University, among other institutions. In addition, Mr. Perez has spoken at Harvard Business School’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Conference (Boston), High-Frequency Trading Leaders Forum (New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, London, Singapore), MIT Sloan Investment Management Conference (Cambridge), High-Frequency Trading Happy Hour (New York), Institutional Investor’s Global Growth Markets Forum (London), Technical Analysis Society (Singapore), TradeTech Asia (Singapore), FIXGlobal Face2Face (Seoul), 2nd Private Equity Convention Russia, CIS & Eurasia (London), among other global forums.
Mr. Perez was a vice president at Citigroup, a senior consultant at IBM, and a consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New York City. Mr. Perez has an undergraduate degree from Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima, Peru (1994), a Master of Administration from Universidad ESAN, Lima, Peru (1997) and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School, New York, with a dual major in Finance and Management (2002). He belongs to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. Mr. Perez resides in the New York City area and is an accomplished salsa and hustle dancer.
The Speed Traders Workshop 2012 kicks off 2012 with a series of presentations in the world’s most important financial centers: Seoul, South Korea, March 28; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 12; Doha, Qatar, April 18, Warsaw, Poland, May 11; Kiev, Ukraine, May 18; Singapore, May 26; Beijing, China, May 30; Shanghai, China, June 6; Jakarta, Indonesia, June 13; Mexico City, Mexico, July 27; Hong Kong, August 4, and Moscow, Russia, August 10.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Mr. Edgar Perez, author of The Speed Traders and presenter of The Speed Traders Workshop 2012, “How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX”, addressed senior officials of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), federal agency that holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation’s stock and options exchanges, and other electronic securities markets in the United States. Mr. Perez’s presentation was held on Friday March 16, at the SEC headquarters in Washington DC.
The invitation received by Mr. Perez reads: “We are focused on many of the high-frequency trading issues that you discuss in your book The Speed Traders, copies of which we purchased for each of our unit supervisors. As such, we would appreciate hearing about your first-hand impressions of the high frequency and algorithmic worlds, as well as how you think current trading practices will evolve in the future.”
Mr. Perez is widely regarded as the preeminent speaker in the specialized areas of high-frequency trading. He has been featured on CNBC Cash Flow (with Oriel Morrison), CNBC Squawk Box (with Geoff Cutmore), BNN Business Day (with Kim Parlee), The Street (with Gregg Greenberg), Channel NewsAsia Asia Business Tonight and Cents & Sensibilities (with Lin Xue Ling), NHK World, iMoney Hong Kong, Hedge Fund Brief, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, TODAY Online,Oriental Daily News and Business Times. He has been engaged as speaker at Harvard Business School’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Conference, High-Frequency Trading Leaders Forum 2011, CFA Singapore, Hong Kong Securities Institute, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (New York), Global Growth Markets Forum (London), Technical Analysis Society (Singapore), TradeTech Asia (Singapore), FIXGlobal Face2Face (Seoul) and 2nd Private Equity Convention Russia, CIS & Eurasia (London), among other global forums.
The Speed Traders, 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 tradersmake millions—one cent at a time.
The Speed Traders Workshop 2012, reveals how high-frequency trading players are succeeding in the global markets and driving the development of algorithmic trading at breakneck speeds from the U.S. and Europe to India, Singapore and Brazil. Upcoming dates for The Speed Traders Workshop 2012 include Seoul, March 28, Kuala Lumpur, April 12, Doha, April 18, Warsaw, May 11, Kiev, May 18, Singapore, May 26, Beijing, May 30, Shanghai, June 6, Jakarta, June 13, Mexico City, July 27, Hong Kong, August 4, and Moscow, August 10.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )