Billions of dollars are being invested to make trading without humans faster, cheaper, smarter. The problem is that no matter how smart you make machines, they will never be smart enough in our lifetime to detect all levels of deceit and fraud. Particularly online.
The new Rich List is out -- yet another example of financial pornography. While nearly 15 million Americans still can't find jobs due to the Wall Street-created crash, the top hedge manager, David Tepper, earned $1,057,692 an HOUR in 2012.
The trading risks of HFT may decimate the HFT operation and at the same time greatly affect other market participants. Particularly, in selected markets, unchecked HFT may quickly incur considerable losses, well in excess of any tolerable limits.
It's not a secret that many pension fund, mutual fund and hedge fund managers are concerned about high-frequency traders (HFTs). While their concerns are many, perhaps the biggest uncertainty involves the actual extent of HFT participation in the markets, their identities and their intent.
The frustration of those of us arguing for pragmatic reforms and unbiased research should be evident. I am thankful that here in the United States, the SEC has at least begun to realize the need for more independence in its research and panels, and I hope that trend continues.
Finally, the SEC has begun to take some action. It's made a lot of progress in just a month, but a lot more needs to be done, as a series of reports written by David Weild for the accounting firm of Grant Thornton makes clear.
Opinions on high-frequency trading run the gamut. On one hand we find individuals who fear that HF traders are nothing more than "hackers" seeking to game the markets. But the extent of their hiring implies that the industry is enormously profitable and here to stay.
Other countries are using financial speculation taxes successfully; it's time we do too. The United States is in desperate need of a permanently robust and resilient economy. A financial speculation tax can help get us there.
They want to think that machines are biddable and programs run smoothly. But with traders and market makers creating and deploying new systems and algorithms constantly, the danger of something going wrong is inevitable.