Woman Behind ‘Flash Boys’ Exchange Approval Preps for Next Fight

Nobody at IEX Group Inc. had done more to prepare, amend and defend the company’s application to become a new kind of stock exchange than Sophia Lee, its general counsel. So when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved the move in a 122-page document delivered late on a Friday in June, Lee’s colleagues who lingered late to hear the news could read the regulator’s verdict in her look of triumph. (Bloomberg)

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Legendary Hedge Fund Wants to Use Atomic Clocks to Beat High-Speed Traders

Patent application no. 14/451,356 has one goal: to outrun the speed demons of Wall Street. The 16-page document was quietly published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in February. Replete with schematic drawings, the filing describes a novel way for “executing synchronized trades in multiple exchanges.” The invention consists of not only sophisticated algorithms and a host of computer servers, but atomic clocks to sync orders to within a few billionths of a second. (Bloomberg)

Trading Pennies Into $7 Billion Drives High-Frequency’s Cowboys

High-frequency firms are the rebellious new force in U.S. securities markets. Armed with algorithms and computers that shave milliseconds off the speed of a trade, programmers, math whizzes and even some former dot­commers have set up shop from Austin to Chicago to Red Bank, New Jersey. These firms don’t analyze a company’s value or bet on financial news. They use computers to scour public and private markets for deviations from historical prices and leap on discrepancies, rather than betting on the value of a company, currency or commodity. (Bloomberg)

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Nasdaq: An Embarrassment Of Embarrassments

“SOES BANDITS.” Market makers don’t think they’ll get anything in return from NASDAQ. In the past few years, for example, many market makers have complained bitterly about some small firms that make big money at the expense of big firms by jumping on price discrepancies through a mechanism called the Small Order Execution System. SOES was designed to allow small investors to trade directly on an electronic NASDAQ system, and the large firms thought it was abusive. Market makers wanted the “SOES bandits” banned, but the NASD had trouble adopting even modest reforms. (Bloomberg)

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