Intercontinental Exchange Inc. CEO Jeff Sprecher says there is a problem with US equity markets in that they allow sophisticated traders to take advantage of small investors. Speaking to analysts a conference call, he spoke about how new structure markets hurt small investors because the current atmosphere is not kind to people who need to trade but are not as privy to as much information as are others.
According to data gathered by Bloomberg, nearly 40% of volume in trading across markets occurs on private platforms, and years of technological and regulator changes have caused fragmentation in trading. This has resulted in firms that employ computerized algorithms to execute transactions faster than is humanly possible. Meantime, penny increment quotes of stock prices are undermining profits and compelling exchanges to look to automated firms to provide liquidity, while alternative venues have been legitimized (following a 2007 rule change that ordered stocks) to trade wherever the price was best. Sprecher said that this modified market structure and such new innovations are what now make it easy for sophisticated firms to take advantage of ordinary investors.
However, the ICE CEO is certain that the New York Stock Exchange can help change the industry. NYSE is the only US stock exchange where humans still help with trading on the floor and Sprecher believes this “human touch” is still necessary. ICE is about to acquire NYSE Euronext (NYX), which is the largest owner of US stock exchange.
Sprecher said ICE has an informed sense of what it plans to do once it takes over but that he couldn’t elaborate until after the deal is final.
NYSE’s Next Owner Says Small U.S. Investors Get Ripped Off, Bloomberg, November 5, 2013
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