Book Review: ‘The Speed Traders’, by Seeking Alpha’s Brenda Jubin

Posted on May 5, 2011. Filed under: Book Review, Flash Crash, Practitioners | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

High-frequency trading has mesmerized people in search of easy money, has challenged regulators, and has been an easy target for the press. In The Speed Traders: An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Phenomenon That Is Transforming the Investing World(McGraw-Hill, 2011) Edgar Perez tries to set the record straight. Alternating between an annotated timeline of the development of high-frequency trading and interviews with top high-frequency traders, Perez illuminates the world of speed.”

The Speed Traders: An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World“We normally think of high-frequency trading as super-fast order processing, measured in microseconds. And, yes, it is. But a traders’s data feed (whether market quotes or news feed) also has to be lightning fast, as does his database management system.”

Perez explores the charges that have been brought against high-frequency trading and for the most part, with the help of his interviewees, tries to dispel them. Did high-frequency trading cause the Flash Crash? No. As David Cummings, chairman of Tradebot Systems, wrote: ‘Who puts in a $4.1 billion order without a limit price? The trader at Waddell & Reed showed historic incompetence.'”

“Some traders also point the finger at the practice of busting trades, which can punish liquidity providers. The Speed Traders offers a sympathetic portrait of an industry that is often demonized. By tracing its roots (going back to Instinet, which began operating under an unwieldy name in 1970), Perez demonstrates it to be a logical development of technological change in the financial markets. By separating out some controversial practices, such as flash orders, from high-frequency trading, Perez makes it more defensible. All in all, an enlightening book.”

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The Real Story Behind the Flash Crash in ‘The Speed Traders’, The Most Comprehensive Book on High-Frequency Trading

Posted on May 3, 2011. Filed under: Exchanges, Flash Crash, Practitioners | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Real Story Behind the Flash Crash at 'The Speed Traders', The Most Comprehensive Book on High-Frequency Trading

The Speed Traders: An Insider's Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World

The real story behind the flash crash, the sudden decline and ultimate recovery of the U.S. financial markets on May 6, 2010, is described in unprecedented detail in The Speed Traders, An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World (http://www.thespeedtraders.com), book by recognized author Edgar Perez.

Building on interviews with influential high-frequency traders that experienced the flash crash first-hand, Mr. Perez has been able to build a narrative that captures the readers’ attention. Referring to Manoj Narang, Chief Executive Officer of Tradeworx, the book says: “As early as May 7, 2010, it was pretty apparent to him what had happened. Investors were on hair-trigger alert because of a huge run-up (around 70 percent in 12 months) in stock prices, because of recent weakness (down around 7 percent for the week before May 6), and because of geopolitical events, particularly the threat that Greece and other European nations would default on their sovereign debt. Into this economic backdrop a mutual fund dumped around $4 billion worth of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) E-Mini futures contracts into the open market, setting off a self-reinforcing wave of selling. Mr. Narang has calculated that the mutual fund’s trade had a likely impact of about 3 percent on the S&P 500 Index’s price over the course of a few minutes. This was a rather large impact, particularly at a time when the market was already spooked. Thus a snowball quickly turned into an avalanche as investors’ stop-loss orders were repeatedly set off at lower and lower levels.”

The book explains that no matter what regulators do as part of liquidity obligations, no matter how much they force people to stay in the market, there will be times when herd like behavior among long-term investors will see them all stampeding for the exits at the same time; there simply won’t be enough high-frequency trading to cover the demand for liquidity. Liquidity crises are not driven by the lack of liquidity but by the demand for liquidity. This is why Mr. Narang thinks that it is a bit misguided on the part of regulators to try to prevent flash crashes from occurring. In order to prevent liquidity crises from occurring, regulators would need to prevent herd like behavior among long-term investors, because that’s what causes bubbles and that’s what causes liquidity crises.

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Book Launch Party for “The Speed Traders” on May 10, W Hotel in New York City

Posted on May 1, 2011. Filed under: Event Announcements, Flash Crash, Practitioners | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The New York City book launch party for “The Speed Traders, An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World”, by Edgar Perez, will be held on May 10th, 2011, at 6:00 p.m., at the Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel. Guests are encouraged to RSVP at http://thespeedtradersnyc.eventbrite.com.

High-frequency traders have been called many things—from masters of the universe and market pioneers to exploiters, computer geeks, and even predators. Everyone in the business of investing has an opinion of speed traders, but how many really understand how they operate? The shadow people of the investing world, today’s high-frequency traders have decidedly kept a low profile—until now. In this new title, The Speed Traders, Edgar, founder of the prestigious business networking community Golden Networking (http://www.goldennetworking.net), opens the door to the secretive world of high-frequency trading (HFT). Inside, prominent figures of HFT drop their guard and speak with unprecedented candidness about their trade.

Edgar begins with an overview of computerized trading, which formally began on February 8, 1971, when NASDAQ launched the world’s first electronic market with 2,500 over-the-counter stocks and which has evolved into the present-day practice of making multiple trades in a matter of microseconds. He then picks the brains of today’s top players. Manoj Narang (Tradeworx), Peter van Kleef (Lakeview Arbitrage), and Aaron Lebovitz (Infinium Capital Management) are just a few of the luminaries who decided to break their silence and speak openly to Edgar. Virtually all of the expertise available from the world of speed trading is packed into these pages.

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 traders make millions—one cent at a time.

Mr. Perez is widely regarded as the pre-eminent networker in the specialized area of high-frequency trading. He is the founder of Golden Networking and host of High-Frequency Trading Happy Hour business receptions (http://www.hfthappyhour.com) in New York City, which have drawn the world’s top industry practitioners. He has organized high-frequency trading forums (http://www.hftleadersforum.com) and workshops (http://www.hftexpertsworkshop.com), as well as conferences on subjects as diverse as hedge funds, derivatives, private equity, distressed investing, and China, attracting thousands of executives and professionals in the world’s major business centers. Mr. Perez has presented at Harvard Business School‘s 17th Annual Venture Capital & Private Equity Conference and at forums organized by Columbia Business School‘s Career Management Center and Alumni Club of New York.

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, with a dual major in Finance and Management (2002). He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma international honor society. Mr. Perez resides in the New York City area and is an accomplished salsa and hustle dancer.

Mr. Perez is one of the great business networkers and motivators on the lecture circuit; he is available worldwide for the following speaking engagements: Present and Future of High-Frequency Trading, The Real Story behind the “Flash Crash”, Networking for Financial Executives, and Business Networking for Success.

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