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FSA not interested in trawling through algo code

12 April 2011  |  8697 views  |  1 Man writing graphs on glass wall

The UK's Financial Services Authority has no intention of "looking through lines of code" before signing off algorithms used by high-frequency traders, describing the prospect, floated by the European Commission, as a "bad idea".

Speaking at the TradeTech conference, Tim Rowe, manager, trading platforms and settlement policy at the FSA insisted that it is not feasible for regulators to look through millions of lines of codes and it is not desirable because it opens up the possibility of "moral hazard" if something goes wrong.

The remarks place Rowe in conflict with the EC, which as part of its MiFID overhaul has proposed forcing traders to explain to regulators how their computer algorithms are designed and work. Similar plans have been floated in the US.

Rowe says that the European Securities and Markets Authority is now conducting "small meetings" with trading venues in a bid to carve out the best path for regulating and monitoring algo trading.

At the same conference, Natan Tiefenbrun, commercial director of Turquoise, argued that it isn't a trading venue's job to "approve" or "go through lines of code" for each algo either. However, he does say that trading venues have a responsibility to established adequate controls in order to "prevent runaway algos" but that it is "unfair" to expect venues to "monitor" those strategies.

Tiefenbrun talks HFT regulation with Finextra:

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 13 April, 2011, 11:04

Sorry FSA this is exactly what you should be doing. The world has moved on since the tick in the box style of regulation. Who will regulate this business if not the FSA? I suspect it is the FSA not having the technical expetese and scared of the potential risks of getting things wrong. A contributing factor in the financial crisis is still live at the FSA  

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