The Invisible Power of MacHines Revisiting the Proposed Flash Order Ban in the Wake of the Flash Crash

By: Austin J. Sandler

Technological innovation continues to make trading and markets more efficient, generally benefitting market participants and the investing public. But flash trading, a practice that evolved from high-frequency trading, benefits only a select few sophisticated traders and institutions with the resources necessary to view and respond to flashed orders. This practice undermines the basic principles of fairness and transparency in securities regulation, exacerbates information asymmetries and harms investor confidence. This iBrief revisits the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed ban on the controversial practice of “flash trading” and urges the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to implement the ban across the securities and futures markets. Banning flash trading will not impact high-frequency trading or other advantageous innovative trading practices, and will benefit all market participants by making prices and liquidity more transparent. In the wake of the May 6, 2010 “flash crash” and the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, now is an opportune time for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to implement the ban.

Cite: 2011 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 003

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