T Rowe Price Red Flags High Frequency Trading
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Monday, January 09, 2012

T Rowe Price Red Flags High Frequency Trading

T. Rowe Price wins praise from its hometown paper for breaking the "industry's code of silence on criticizing rapid traders." Jay Hancock of the Baltimore Sun raises the issue of "secret software" with the potential to roil the markets.

Andy Brooks, head of stock trading at T. Rowe Price, told Hancock that folks at the mutual-fund seller "have gotten a little anxious when you hear that, on a given day, high frequency traders of all types ... make 60, 70, 80 percent of what's trading."

He adds that:
The public's confidence in pricing and markets, and getting a fair deal and earning a fair return, has been challenged. And these guys -- the more aggressive high-frequency traders -- undermine confidence. And that's bad for everybody.

We know that some high-frequency trading strategies have cancellation rates in the 95 percent range," Brooks said. "So that means that 95 percent of the time that you say you want to buy 100 shares of IBM, you don't really buy it. And that begs the question: Why have you said you want to buy? Are you trying to influence someone to do something else? And is that manipulative?

Clive Williams, head of global stock trading for T. Rowe Price add that "It's not good for our business" as the volatility in the market is driving away long-term investors.

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