India's "flash boys" fret over proposed automated trading curbs

Wed Sep 7, 2016 9:25am EDT
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* India considers tighter rules on automated trading

* High-frequency traders worry it will dent their business

* HFT firms holding back investment in new strategies

* HFT sector argues new rules would harm market liquidity

By Abhirup Roy and Euan Rocha

MUMBAI, Sept 7 (Reuters) - India's "flash boys", or high-frequency traders, are pushing back against the domestic markets regulator and in some cases putting investments in new strategies on hold, saying proposed tighter rules could render their ultra-fast systems redundant.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) last month proposed regulating hyper-fast stock trading, amid concerns that investors lacking access to such advanced and expensive systems were being disadvantaged.

But trading firms contend such rules could hurt liquidity and destabilise Indian markets.

"If you keep changing the rules of the game every now and then, people are going to worry about how much money they want to sink in," said Rajesh Baheti, managing director at Crosseas Capital, adding that investments in new high frequency trading (HFT) strategies were on hold.   Continued...