Tag Archives: high frequency traders

New NASDAQ Fees Targets HFTs

Whether in effort to placate regulators who have put high-frequency traders in their cross-hairs, or simply in effort to increase revenue via new fees, or maybe even in effort to keep competitive, NASDAQ OMX announced that effective June 1, traders on its three exchanges will be charged a fee for posting an excessive number of orders away from the inside market quoted.

Market participants will be permitted to post up to 100 orders for every traded executed at no charge; beyond the 100 orders, participants will pay 1/10 of one cent (or more) per order.

Nasdaq announced its new policy on its website last night, [coincidentally] hours after a similar policy was announced by competitor Direct Edge. Both exchanges have come under pressure by their members and regulators to curb the message traffic on their trading platforms. Nasdaq is only targeting orders posted outside the national best bid or offer. Direct Edge is cutting rebates. Nasdaq is levying a fee.

Importantly, both exchange operators are exempting registered market makers from their new rules. Nasdaq spokesman Todd Golub says that market makers rarely post quotes outside the NBBO anyway. In fact, Nasdaq has a policy limiting the widths of dealer quotes. “The electronic market makers are not the ones putting in excessive messages away from the inside,” the exec said.

According to one Street-side market maker (who is not authorized to speak for his firm), “It will be interesting to see whether the new fee structure curtails the type of noise HFTs pollute the market with..”

HFTs Hampering Trade in ETFs? SEC Wants to Know.

As reported by Reuters, U.S. securities regulators have widened their inquiry into the trillion-dollar market for exchange-traded funds, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Prompted by a delay in a big trade at a popular ETF, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is taking a closer look at a possible connection between high-frequency traders and hedge funds jumping in and out of ETFs, and instances where ETF trades fail to settle on time, this person said.

The SEC’s inquiry is part of a wider probe that began last year and focused on complex ETFs that allow investors to magnify returns or bet against stock indexes.

U.S. and UK regulators are concerned that so-called settlement fails – when trades are not completed on time – could contribute to volatility and systemic risk in financial markets.

The probe’s main focus is on illiquid ETFs, but regulators are now also examining popular ETFs and failed trades, according to the person.

An SEC spokesman confirmed that the agency is looking into failed trades and ETFs, but declined to elaborate.

That said, the SEC might be barking up on the wrong tree, as many ETF experts discount criticism of the impact ETFs might have on trade settlement processes. In a recent report, State Street Corp, a Boston asset manager that created the first ETF in 1993, said that “short interest theoretically should have no impact on an ETF’s performance.”

ETF industry leaders say the data on ETF trade failures does not account for the fact that market-makers, the firms that do the bulk of ETF trading, have seven days to clear trades. The data assumes that all market participants must clear in four days, and any trade that settles later is counted as a failed trade by the National Securities Clearing Corp, a trade processing subsidiary of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.