Spotlight shines on high-speed traders

BRITAIN and France yesterday signalled a looming crackdown on ultra-fast share trading that featured in May’s brief “flash crash” freefall on Wall Street, alarming regulators and investors globally.

French economy minister Christine Lagarde said a form of computerised trading known as high-frequency trading (HFT) may need banning in some cases.

“My natural tendency would be at least to regulate, to oversee it very strictly and after a cost-benefit analysis of these methods, maybe to forbid it,” Lagarde told a parliamentary commission hearing on financial speculation.

Britain, Europe’s biggest share trading center and where HFT accounts for about a third of trading on
the London Stock Exchange, also signalled that tougher rules were needed.