EU High-Frequency Trade Curbs May Hurt Markets, Industry Warns [Bloomberg]


High-frequency traders said that plans by European Union lawmakers to interfere with their strategies and restrict the speed of transactions would raise investor costs and harm financial stability.

“It is ironic that growth market exchanges in countries such as BrazilHong Kong and Singapore are making substantial investments in technology in order to improve liquidity, whilst Europe is contemplating doing the reverse,” the FIA European Principal Traders Association, a group that represents high- frequency traders, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The European Parliament is seeking to bolster last year’s proposals by Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services chief, to revamp the region’s market legislation, known as Mifid. The draft rules were proposed by Barnier to plug regulatory gaps exposed by the financial crisis that followed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s 2008 collapse.

A bid by the assembly to force traders to keep orders in the market for at least half a second before canceling them, and to set EU limits on how many orders a firm may cancel compared to those it completes, would lead to “higher transaction costs for end users” and increase the chance of “extreme price swings,” the FIA said.

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