December 8, 2009
I write to comment on the upcoming regulation against flash trading.
First, let me say that this practice is insidious, and it makes the possibility of success of an individual investor all the harder. It is difficult enough to attempt to invest or trade on information that is available to the public without the high cost of subscription business information services. This practice ensures that even if I can make wise, well grounded choices, the brokerages are always going to one-up me on the buy price, and sell just before I do.
But my actionable comment is this: Every service agreement I have ever signed (I'm assuming) whether with a full service brokerage such as Merrill-Lynch or a deep discount brokerage such as TradeKing GIVES THE BROKERAGE MY CONSENT AND BLESSING TO ALLOW THEM TO FRONT-RUN MY ORDERS WITH FLASH TRADING. This is quite a problem, as every brokerage can claim that if I do not agree with their terms, that I can trade elsewhere. The reality is that I cannot trade elsewhere.
This goes to the fundamental problem of brokerage service agreements, that I am forced (correct word choice) to consent to their flash trading and other practices, and forever bury any claims against them in arbitration.