UPDATE 1-New York prosecutor probes high-speed trading -source

Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:08pm EDT
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(Adds background on probes by other agencies)

By Karen Freifeld and Douwe Miedema

April 16 (Reuters) - The New York attorney general is probing more than half a dozen high-speed trading firms, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, as part of his wide-ranging probe into alleged unfair technology advantages on Wall Street.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office is seeking information on special relationships between exchanges and so-called dark pools, platforms where large trades take place out of sight of the rest of the market.

The office had sent out subpoenas to firms including Tower Research Capital LLC, Chopper Trading LLC and Jump Trading LLC, the source said on Wednesday. The firms could not immediately be reached for comment, and a spokesman for the Principal Traders Group, an industry association, declined to comment.

Schneiderman has been looking into what he considers unfair Wall Street practices for about a year, and has spoken out against advantages that speed trading firms have at exchanges such as the ability to locate their computers on site, providing them pricing information milliseconds before others.

The subpoena was exploratory in nature, a source at a trading firm that was contacted by the New York attorney general's office said, and the office appeared to be casting a wide net involving the U.S. equity market.

"It's a huge distraction," the source said. "We look forward to cooperating so they can also understand that we've done nothing wrong and have received no special privileges along the way," the source said.

The source was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and therefore requested anonymity.   Continued...