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One year after “Flash Boys”, investors remain concerned about high frequency trading

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Opalesque Industry Update - Convergex, an agency-focused global brokerage and trading related services provider, has released the results of its U.S. Equity Market Structure “Flashback” Survey, exploring the concerns and actions of financial industry participants regarding high frequency trading (HFT), regulatory oversight and market stability, nearly one year after the release of the controversial book “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis.

Conducted from March 17 to March 19, 2015, the survey results reveal an investment community with remaining concerns about U.S. equity market structure, yet feeling more positive than one year ago (as measured against Convergex’s April 2014 U.S. Equity Market Structure Survey).

A majority of respondents (57%) still say that markets are not fair for all participants, down from 70% who said the same thing in April 2014, and more than one-third (36%) describe HFT as “harmful” or “very harmful” to investors, versus fifty-one percent (51%) in the previous survey. Fewer than half of those surveyed (42%) report having changed how they interact with markets because of the ongoing HFT debate, but that number has almost doubled from 2014.

“Wall Street’s perception of markets has clearly shifted,” said Eric Noll, Convergex president and chief executive officer. “Today’s market structure is complex and challenging. Investors are more comfortable now than they were a year ago, but they’re still largely unsure of how this impacts them and what changes they should make to the way they trade.”

The U.S. Equity Market Structure “Flashback” Survey also asked industry participants about specific steps they have taken in response to the HFT debate, the role of regulations, and confidence in the markets’ ability to handle a sudden shock or crisis.

Press release

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