High frequency trading needs further scrutiny, Lord Myners says

15 August 2011

The UK’s financial regulatory bodies need to do more to investigate high frequency trading (HFT), the ex-City minister has told a newspaper.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Lord Myners called for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the UK’s Treasury to undertake greater scrutiny of ‘black box trading’, which he said may be one of the reasons behind the recent economic turbulence seen in the markets.

Lord Myners told the newspaper: “HFT appears so detached from the true function of capital markets, but is potentially fraught with hazard. It definitely deserves more attention than either the FSA or the Treasury has given it."

According to the report, he is planning to raise a series of questions on the trading practice in the House of Lords.

The government is also expected to publish a report on HFT, which accounts for more than half of trading on the London Stock Exchange, at some stage in 2012.

Questions were raised about the validity of HFT last year after some commentators suggested that ‘flash crash’ on the Dow Jones Industrial Index in May 2010 could have been prompted by the practice.

The index saw a fall of 700 points in a matter of minutes.

By Jim Ottewill

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