Several years ago, when ‘high frequency’ trading first captured the imagination of the commentariat, I was on a radio show panel on which the health of the stock market was discussed. One participant, a fairly well known columnist for a major market publication, opined that the existence of computerized, high speed trading was a barrier to the retail investor returning to the market and boosting it.
As one can imagine, ‘fairness’ was brought up. Supposedly the ability of some market participants to complete trades at lightning speed, sometimes with privileged information purchased from providers of same, was scaring away the little guy from what was surely a ‘rigged’ market. When the ‘flash crash’ revealed itself not long after, market scolds rejoiced as though a quickly fixed error somehow indicated a need to rid the marketplace of new sources of liquidity.