High-Frequency Trading Under ‘Intense Focus’ at SEC, White Says

Apr 10, 2014 12:10 pm ET

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. markets ‘aren’t rigged’ and regulators are taking allegations of unfairness by high- frequency traders seriously, Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White said today.

“We are taking, I think, it’s the right approach, a very thorough review of all the issues -- data driven, disciplined approach,” White told members of the agency’s investor advisory committee. “But it has intense focus by us and the staff.”

The remarks were White’s most direct since the release of a book by Michael Lewis, “Flash Boys,” in which he alleged that high-frequency traders can front-run other investors by milliseconds and affect prices.

“The markets aren’t rigged,” White said. “We do have the strongest markets in the world.”

White said that high-frequency trading can provide some benefits, including increasing market liquidity.

“There are a number of market metrics, that most agree with, that would certainly strongly suggest that high-frequency traders have added liquidity and some price advantages,” White said.