Showing posts sorted by relevance for query frontrunning. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query frontrunning. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

frontrunning and now the "trading huddle"

BusinessInsider | We find it hard to believe that the top hedge funds in the world get a lot of value out of Buy/Sell ideas from analysts, unless they're blatantly telegraphing market-moving reports, in which case that could be trouble.

Still, this timeline looks pretty damning:

Susanne Craig at WSJ takes a deep dive into the practices of Goldman Sachs (GS) stock analysts, and notes that preferred clients get, well, preferred access to ideas and advice.

Here's the nut of it:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. research analyst Marc Irizarry's published rating on mutual-fund manager Janus Capital Group Inc. was a lackluster "neutral" in early April 2008. But at an internal meeting that month, the analyst told dozens of Goldman's traders the stock was likely to head higher, company documents show.

The next day, research-department employees at Goldman called about 50 favored clients of the big securities firm with the same tip, including hedge-fund companies Citadel Investment Group and SAC Capital Advisors, the documents indicate. Readers of Mr. Irizarry's research didn't find out he was bullish until his written report was issued six days later, after Janus shares had jumped 5.8%.

Every week, Goldman analysts offer stock tips at a gathering the firm calls a "trading huddle." But few of the thousands of clients who receive Goldman's written research reports ever hear about the recommendations.

This story will bring fresh, unwanted attention to the bank, which is reeling from a string of undesirable media stories.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

goldman's golden goose grab...,

NYTimes | “A geek who writes code — those guys are now the valuable guys,” Mr. Donefer said.

The spate of lawsuits reflects the highly competitive nature of ultrafast trading, which is evolving quickly, largely because of broader changes in stock trading, securities industry experts say.

Until the late 1990s, big investors bought and sold large blocks of shares through securities firms like Morgan Stanley. But in the last decade, the profits from making big trades have vanished, so investment banks have become reluctant to take such risks.

Today, big investors divide large orders into smaller trades and parcel them to many exchanges, where traders compete to make a penny or two a share on each order. Ultrafast trading is an outgrowth of that strategy.

As Mr. Aleynikov and other programmers have discovered, investment banks do not take kindly to their leaving, especially if the banks believe that the programmers are taking code — the engine that drives trading — on their way out.

This spring, Mr. Aleynikov quit Goldman to join Teza Technologies, a new trading firm, tripling his salary to about $1.2 million, according to the complaint. He left Goldman on June 5. In the days before he left, he transferred code to a server in Germany that offers free data hosting.

At Mr. Aleynikov’s bail hearing, Joseph Facciponti, the assistant United States attorney prosecuting the case, said that Goldman discovered the transfer in late June. On July 1, the company told the government about the suspected theft. Two days later, agents arrested Mr. Aleynikov at Newark.

After his arrest, Mr. Aleynikov was taken for interrogation to F.B.I. offices in Manhattan. Mr. Aleynikov waived his rights against self-incrimination, and agreed to allow agents to search his house.

He said that he had inadvertently downloaded a portion of Goldman’s proprietary code while trying to take files of open source software — programs that are not proprietary and can be used freely by anyone. He said he had not used the Goldman code at his new job or distributed it to anyone else, and the criminal complaint offers no evidence that he has.

Why he downloaded the open source software from Goldman, rather than getting it elsewhere, and how he could at the same time have inadvertently downloaded some of the firm’s most confidential software, is not yet clear.

At Mr. Aleynikov’s bail hearing, Mr. Facciponti said that simply by sending the code to the German server, he had badly damaged Goldman.
The MSM has finally gotten around to narratizing the frontrunning fraud perpetrated by Goldman Sachs. This summer has already shown the issue to complex to be digested by the public at large. So justice, as with political leadership, is reduced to a lowest common denominator in which the people will get precisely what their effort and attention spans lead them to deserve.

Friday, July 24, 2009

softening you up for the goldman frontrunning fiasco

NYTimes | Traders Profit With Computers Set at High Speed - It is the hot new thing on Wall Street, a way for a handful of traders to master the stock market, peek at investors’ orders and, critics say, even subtly manipulate share prices.

It is called high-frequency trading — and it is suddenly one of the most talked-about and mysterious forces in the markets.

Powerful computers, some housed right next to the machines that drive marketplaces like the New York Stock Exchange, enable high-frequency traders to transmit millions of orders at lightning speed and, their detractors contend, reap billions at everyone else’s expense.

These systems are so fast they can outsmart or outrun other investors, humans and computers alike. And after growing in the shadows for years, they are generating lots of talk.

Nearly everyone on Wall Street is wondering how hedge funds and large banks like Goldman Sachs are making so much money so soon after the financial system nearly collapsed. High-frequency trading is one answer.

And when a former Goldman Sachs programmer was accused this month of stealing secret computer codes — software that a federal prosecutor said could “manipulate markets in unfair ways” — it only added to the mystery. Goldman acknowledges that it profits from high-frequency trading, but disputes that it has an unfair advantage.

Yet high-frequency specialists clearly have an edge over typical traders, let alone ordinary investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission says it is examining certain aspects of the strategy.

“This is where all the money is getting made,” said William H. Donaldson, former chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange and today an adviser to a big hedge fund. “If an individual investor doesn’t have the means to keep up, they’re at a huge disadvantage.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

frontrunning and tailgating

Wikipedia | Front running is the illegal practice of a stock broker executing orders on a security for its own account while taking advantage of advance knowledge of pending orders from its customers. When orders previously submitted by its customers will predictably affect the price of the security, purchasing first for its own account gives the broker an unfair advantage, since it can expect to close out its position at a profit based on the new price level. Front running may involve either buying (where the broker buys for their account, before filling customer buy orders that drive up the price) or selling (where the broker sells for its own account, before filling customer sell orders that drive down the price).

Allegations of front running occasionally arise in stock and commodity exchanges, in scandals concerning floor brokers and exchange specialists.

For example, suppose a broker receives an order from a customer to buy a large block of 400,000 shares of some stock, but before placing the order for the customer the broker buys 20,000 shares of the same stock for his own account at $100 per share, then afterward places the customer's order for 400,000 shares, driving the price up to $102 per share and allowing the broker to immediately sell his shares for, say, $101.75, generating a significant profit of $35,000 in just a short time. This $35,000 is likely to be just a part of the additional cost to the customer's purchase caused by the broker's self-dealing.

This example uses unusually large numbers to get the point across. It is, however, highly uncommon for brokers to process buy orders totaling $40,800,000 in a single transaction. In practice, computer trading splits up large orders into many smaller ones, making front-running more difficult to detect. Moreover, the 2001 change to pricing stock in pennies rather than fractions of no less than 1/8 of a dollar facilitated front running by reducing the extra amount that must be offered to step in front of other orders.

By front-running, the broker has put his or her own financial interest above (or in front of) the customer's interest and is thus committing fraud. In the U.S. he or she might also be breaking laws on market manipulation or insider trading.


A practice similar to front running is called "tailgating". Tailgating means the action of a broker or adviser purchasing or selling a security for his or her client(s) and then immediately making the same transaction in his or her own account. This is not illegal like front running, but it is not looked upon favorably because the broker is most likely placing a trade for his or her own account based on what the client knows (like inside information).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dueling Systems and the Five Stages of Collapse

Over the past week and a half or so, I've been chatting with a number of Cobb's commenters and intermittently with the man himself. Here lately, he's embarked on an apologia for war socialism. Brahman has a tendency to get caught up in philosophical rather than practical or empirical argumentation. I've begun to suspect that a significant part of his political orientation is attributable to this tendency. In opting for philosophy and abstraction - both he and his conservative co-religionists have a tendency to get lost in flights of metaphorical fancy.

Case in point yesterday afternoon on a post he called The Morality of War he asked;

"Are you suggesting that we should not have fought Stalin?"
Last I checked, we didn't...., but that minor historical quibble aside, this was not a discussion of history, philosophy, or morality per se. Rather, it was the branching of a prior thread in which I was accused of blaming G-Dub for the American war socialist posture. A brief review of Jay Hanson's warsocialism site will clearly dispel any such notions of contemporary blame - and - put the concept of war socialism on its proper historical footing. Hanson calls the system of American governance a war socialist system - I happen to find his arguments concise and very persuasive.

Aside from the countless tragic, wasteful, and destructive proxy wars that it spawned - the political, philosophical and moral dimensions of the Cold War hold little interest for me - I won't be pursuing any of those issues at great length. Rather, what I'd like to bring to your attention is the way in which the former Soviet Union survived it's own economic and industrial collapse - and - invite you to compare and contrast the adaptability and survivability of our own war socialist system of governance in the face of impending collapse. Dmitry Orlov writes;
the collapse of the Soviet Union - our most recent and my personal favorite example of an imperial collapse - did not reach the point of political disintegration of the republics that made it up, although some of them (Georgia, Moldova) did lose some territory to separatist movements. And although most of the economy shut down for a time, many institutions, including the military, public utilities, and public transportation, continued to function throughout. And although there was much social dislocation and suffering, society as a whole did not collapse, because most of the population did not lose access to food, housing, medicine, or any of the other survival necessities. The command-and-control structure of the Soviet economy largely decoupled the necessities of daily life from any element of market psychology, associating them instead with physical flows of energy and physical access to resources. Thus situation, as I argue in my forthcoming book, Reinventing Collapse, allowed the Soviet population to inadvertently achieve a greater level of collapse-preparedness than is currently possible in the United States.

Having given a lot of thought to both the differences and the similarities between the two superpowers - the one that has collapsed already, and the one that is collapsing as I write this - I feel ready to attempt a bold conjecture, and define five stages of collapse, to serve as mental milestones as we gauge our own collapse-preparedness and see what can be done to improve it.
IMOHO - this is the type of systematic thinking that we need to enjoin in America as we gird ourselves up to cast what may be operationally and systemically decisive votes in this year's presidential election. I sincerely believe that the U.S. is caught up in a still civil dispute among its ruling elites over the type and pace of contraction and collapse that citizens will be subject to over the next twenty to thirty years. I believe that the frontrunning presidential candidates literally embody the respective elite camps and their dueling perspectives on how this should shake out.