White Papers

Impact of High Frequency Trading and Considerations for Regulatory Change


Over the past 10 years, trading in the U.S. securities markets has dramatically changed from primarily manual trading to almost predominately computer-based trading. New regulations – such as Regulation ATS, decimalization requirements and Regulation NMS – fostered comprehensive computer linkages among trading venues and concomitant upgrades to market participants’ trading systems.  Technological advances – such as high speed computing and co-located servers, increased bandwidth, and electronic messaging standards – have accelerated the adoption of new electronic trading strategies, tools, and behavior. 


Recent concerns raised in connection with the operation of today’s markets have been focused on computer-based trading activities and strategies that generically have been referred to as “high-frequency trading” (HFT). SIFMA shares its views on computer-based trading, including HFT. Among other points in this paper, SIFMA seeks to describe the benefits electronic markets and computer-based trading provide to investors, and also specific activities and behaviors that may warrant additional regulatory consideration.