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February 3, 2014

HFTs Form Group

By John D'Antona Jr.

Four high-frequency trading firms have formed the Modern Markets Initiative to defend HFT's role in the trading landscape.

High-frequency traders aren't going gently into that good night. After tolerating criticism and the threat of tighter regulations in response to their role-real or implied-in the modern equity market structure, representatives from four high-speed trading firms are coming out swinging and have formed their own trade group to make their collective voice heard.

To counter what they say is the industry's unfair perception of high-frequency trading as a disruptive force in the markets, the Wall Street Journal reported today, a quartet of HFT firms have hired a pair of heavy-hitting political strategists and formed a trade group to press their case with regulators and lawmakers. The strategists hail from the recent presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

The Journal reported that the HFT strategists, Kevin Madden and Erik Smith, submitted paperwork to found a group called the Modern Markets Initiative, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. Backed by four high-speed firms-Global Trading Systems, Tower Research Capital, Hudson River Trading of New York and Quantlab Financial of Houston-the new group unveiled a website Tuesday, January 7 that included a video arguing that HFTs have made the financial markets cheaper and faster for investors. The site also included a blog to respond to critics and links to academic research.

Modern Markets Initiative website is


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