Thomson Reuters suspends early peeks at consumer data for HFT clients

Thomson Reuters suspends early peeks at consumer data for HFT clients

Under pressure from the New York attorney general, Thomson Reuters has agreed to suspend its practice of providing high-frequency traders with market-moving consumer survey results a couple of seconds before the information is given to other subscribers.

Thomson Reuters pays more than $1 million a year to exclusively distribute the University of Michigan consumer survey results - which are published once a fortnight - to its terminal subscribers five minutes before the wider market sees them.

However, the data giant has also been giving high-frequency traders willing to pay several thousand dollars a month an extra two second head-start.

The practice is understood to have come to the attention of New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman earlier this year after a former Thomson Reuters staffer filed a whistle blower complaint. Schneiderman's office launched an investigation in April which, despite Thomson Reuters' latest move, is ongoing.

In a statement, Schneiderman's office says: "That two second advantage is more than enough time for these traders to take unfair advantage of their early access to this information as they execute enormous volumes of trades in the blink of an eye."

Although it has discontinued the practice, Thomson Reuters has defended it, with spokesman Lemuel Brewster telling the New York Times: "Thomson Reuters strongly believes that news and information companies can legally distribute nongovernmental data and exclusive news through services provided to fee-paying subscribers.

"It is widely understood that news and information companies compete for exclusive news and differentiated content to help their customers make better informed trading and investment decisions."

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