By Irene Aldridge Twenty years ago, television told women to buy extraordinary quantities of shoes. There was the holy grail of happiness, according to the absolute hit “Sex in the City”. For today’s generation of women “Sex and the City” is out, and a new trend is in, marching in protest. The marching is against the dominant male stereotype, but also explicitly asking for the government (another patriarchal authority?) to provide certain services, higher wages, better working conditions, and the like. How about taking charge of our own future in a constructive meaningful way? An interesting study is the Big Data Finance conference at NewRead More →

Picture this: you can protect your investments against the aggressive high-frequency trading (HFT) right in your portfolio. “What?” you may ask. With the latest technology from AbleMarkets, now available on Quandl, hedging aggressive HFT is no longer just wishful thinking, but a reality. How is hedging aggressive HFT possible? First, to hedge aggressive HFT exposure, one needs to know what that exposure is. AbleMarkets aggressive HFT Index summarizes the daily participation of aggressive HFT as a percentage of the total daily volume traded in 90% of the active U.S. stocks (those comprising the Russell 3000 index). Using proprietary technology, now nearly 10 years in theRead More →

FinTech companies are changing business as usual for many established financial services companies. Companies like Money.Net are threatening to undermine the decades-long dominance of Bloomberg. Online lending platforms are coming out of the woodwork to directly compete with 100-year old banks. Money transfer firms are taking on established wire operations. All sorts of traditional financial intermediation, trading and even research are threatened by technology upstarts, with companies like Virtu electronically making markets and Kensho aiming to replace entire financial research departments with low-maintenance servers. There is no doubt that such financial disruption is driven by the technology: automation, often prohibitively expensive some thirty years ago,Read More →

If you live in Asia, you will hear this refrain about the Chinese stock market again and again: that it is the government casino. The way the casino works is through guanxi, a set of connections to the higher authority and a network of favors, if not bribes. According to locals, Guanxi permeates pretty much every aspect of the Chinese society. And the Chinese stock market, in particular, has proven to be beholden to Guanxi: those with connections and, as a result, in the know about upcoming government moves make a ton of money. The regular folks are pure gamblers, placing their money on theRead More →

The new revelations surrounding the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010, once again brought to light an undeniable fact: U.S. regulators desperately need to boost their real-time surveillance capabilities. Nearly five years has elapsed between the time the London-based Navinder Singh Sarao, allegedly influenced the Flash Crash and the government identification of this event! Gone are the days when market issues could be analyzed by a team watching for on-screen images of market events. Regulatory agencies are ill-equipped to handle real-time issues in a timely manner. However, market solutions, such as suite of real-time products are designed to spot market microstructure issues, such asRead More →

Recent market moves left many buy-side investors puzzled and wanting for more information. Was the extreme volatility observed in the Fall of 2014 a gust of wind or a hurricane, a harbinger of further price swings to come? Our research,, provides answers. Take an absolutely ordinary day, Monday, October 13, 2014. It was Columbus Day, a banking holiday, when stock markets are open, nevertheless. Typically, Columbus Day is a quiet trading day, with little news to move the securities prices. This day was no different: the only event listed on Bloomberg LP was a speech by Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans. Dr.Read More →

By Irene Aldridge What is the quantitative evidence regarding the presence of aggressive high-frequency traders (HFTs) in today’s markets? Our firm’s AbleMarkets Aggressive HFT Index tracks the participation of aggressive HFTs in real-time and offers some interesting observations. As 2014 rolls to a close, we are able to offer comprehensive statistics on tick-by-tick, minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour evolution of aggressive HFT participation during this past year, as well as daily statistics presented in this article. Why does aggressive HFT participation matter? Multiple academic studies have confirmed that aggressive HFTs worsen market conditions for institutional investors. The aggressive HFTs are not to be confused with the passiveRead More →

By Irene Aldridge With the advent of high-frequency trading, measuring microstructure risk has not only become easier due to the availability of data, it has also become mandatory. Over the past several years, so-called flash crashes have triggered stop losses and caused numerous investors to liquidate positions early or forced investors out on the sidelines of the market altogether. Aggressive high-frequency traders have been shown to worsen market conditions and instilled dread, anger and a feeling of hopelessness in many market participants. Runaway algorithms sank ships like Knight Capital Group, dealing multi-million dollar losses in a matter of minutes. While the academics have worked onRead More →

By Irene Aldridge As a high-frequency trader I often weigh the risks of HFT. Some of these considerations are generated by the obvious desire to contain the risks of my operation and thereby enhance profitability and attractiveness to prospective partners and investors. Alternative concepts are driven by the proposals of third-parties, who are often individuals that view HFT as a threat. In this note I explore the real and the imagined risks from the impact of HFT — specifically and externally. As I discuss in my new book, High-Frequency Trading: A Practical Guide to Algorithmic Strategies and Trading Systems, 2nd Edition (Wiley, ISBN: 978-1118343500), mostRead More →

By Irene Aldridge Many articles on the subject of money talk about different ways to invest the money: which stocks to pick, whether to choose bonds over stocks and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) versus mutual funds. Few of the pieces, however, address the key issue underlying any allocation which may be keeping investors up at night: the implicit costs of placing their money into someone else’s hands. Any investment decision amounts to just that: transferring money into someone else’s care. When purchasing stock of a particular company, an investor transfers his money to the management of the stock-issuing corporation with the sole hope that the managementRead More →