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Much ado about HFT

Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Much ado about HFT FIA EPTA debunks high-frequency trading myths at MiFID II paper launch

FIA EPTA debunks high-frequency trading myths at MiFID II paper launch

Launching its position paper on the review of the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (known as MiFID II), FIA European Principal Traders Association has addressed what it claims to be  misconceptions surrounding high-frequency trading (HFT).“It’s time to bring more balance to the HFT debate, which until now has been driven by emotive language, anecdotes and fabrications rather than hard fact,” says FIA EPTA chairman Remco Lenterman. “For example, many people don’t realise that market abuse—as well as being morally reprehensible—comes at a hefty price for the market. So principal trading firms such as our members have a very real economic incentive to fight market abuse and back regulatory reform,” Lenterman adds, claiming that the industry’s critics have chosen to overlook the value that principal trading firms add to the real economy in terms of lower transaction costs and greater liquidity.

FIA EPTA is an association of European principal traders formed in June 2011 under the auspices of the Futures Industry Association (FIA). FIA EPTA represents more than 20 principal trading firms that, on a combined basis, are responsible for very significant volumes of trading in many asset classes on European regulated markets and multilateral trading facilities (MTFs). On average and across the main trading venues in Europe, one in two transactions in futures and one in three transactions in equities very likely have an FIA EPTA member firm on one or both sides of the transaction.

The position paper highlights FIA EPTA’s backing for a comprehensive regulatory framework and the regulation of all market participants with memberships to regulated markets and multilateral trading facilities. It also argues for well calibrated order-to-trade ratios determined by trading venues to ensure orderly trading on their platforms. Equally it expects trading venues and market participants to have robust risk controls in place to address risks inherent in electronic markets as well as ESMA’s guidelines on systems and controls in an automated trading environment, and supports transparent and open markets along with pre- and post-trade transparency measures and on-exchange trading. “We strongly support measures that ensure safer, more resilient markets, but we urge policymakers to carefully weigh the costs of such measures. No one benefits if badly designed regulations disrupt liquidity and drive up costs for traders and investors,” Lenterman said.

FIA EPTA represents firms that trade their own capital in the European exchange-traded markets. The association estimates that its members are responsible for a substantial part of the traded volumes on European exchanges and multilateral trading facilities.

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