Michael Lewis' HFT Book: More of a Dark Market Than a Lit One

2 April 2014

Craig Pirrong, the author of the Streetwise Professor blog, comments that “Flash Boys” is essentially a morality tale that does not capture the “true complexity” of markets or high-frequency trading. Pirrong comments that the trading activities described in the book are not a new phenomenon but rather the latest iteration of a long-running contest between large institutional investors who want to execute large trades without moving the market and intermediaries who try to figure out when big orders are entering the market. Pirrong argues that the problems with HFT in equities are directly related to the fragmented market structure, which itself is the result of regulations aimed at promoting competition.