The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is examining the impact of high-frequency trading and the use of dark pools on the UK equity market.
There is no doubt the markets are now more complex and require more technology to be able to take part. The big players have the systems and financial clout to play but at the detriment of tier two and three or smaller players. Its doubtful that the whole
market is benefiting from so many electronic venues that appears to favour the great if not so good
The authorities should be working harder to create a level playing field and make the market order execution simple and transparant. This should not be by increasing the investment in technology by FS firms to take part
I would argue that the industry can offer solutions for tier two and three. LSE Baikal Liquidity Aggregation Service is a good example. On the other hand, I am not entirely convinced that strict limitations on pre-trade transparency waivers from CESR and
other regulatory activity in the area of dark pools help establish a better marketplace.
This raises many more questions if the FSA and other regulators are seriously looking into developing an even playing field for all investors leading to transparent trading.
For example, regulators should not allow 'market moving' trades of single units by HF trading engines that purely support moving to numbers that trigger larger events in favour of the initiator's positions? These types of trades are limited to professional
traders to the distinct advantage of their own positions and the disadvantage of all others.
Once upon a time 'market moving' trades were only considered to be so if they were large, however with the number of online investors growing exponentially it's time to recognise that major reform is needed for transparency at the very least.
Bring it on!
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