The European Union is set to follow in the footsteps of US authorities by instituting a probe into the impact of computer-driven trading on stock market practices, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The Commission met with industry representatives in Brussels on 11 January to discuss the issue, says the newswire, citing three people 'familiar with the matter'.
The increasing use of sophisticated trading programs to switch in and out of stocks at sub-second speeds has alarmed politicians and regulators, who fear that the practice may have a destabilising effect on market structures and competition.
The Commission has also scheduled a meeting on 28 January, according to two of the Bloomberg sources, to discuss whether Europe should develop a consolidated tape for market data pricing across European stock exchanges. With incumbent exchanges often used as the benchmark for pricing, investors have been reluctant to move their business to alternative trading platforms when the main market goes dark.
The discussions form part of a broader review of European stock markets two-years on from the introduction of the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), which was intended to usher in a new era of competition and transparency for investors trading across Europe's borders.