Stock Market Regulators Can't Find a Whale in a Pipeline
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Who knows what complex trading strategies are currently distorting world markets?
Certainly not securities regulators.
In recent days, two front page stories in The Wall Street Journal have put the spotlight on trading operations that were unknown to the public but appear to have had an outsized impact on the markets.
According to Bloomberg, which followed up, on The Wall Street Journal,'s report, Iksil's bullish positions in credit default swaps indices have "broken" the indices, creating a disparity between the cost of credit for some companies and the way that cost was reflected in the indices.
Before most of us were able to wrap our heads around those events, The Wall Street Journal published an unrelated story Monday about a high frequency trading outfit called Pipeline Trading Systems that reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after it was accused of misrepresenting the method it used to fill client orders.
The client wasn't you or me, but rather fund giant Fidelity Investments. Fidelity thought it was using Pipeline's technology to fill trades anonymously though a private off-exchange platform known as a "dark pool," when in fact a Pipeline affiliate called Milstream was trading ahead of Fidelity on separate venues to fill the order.
That activity that may have defeated the purpose of the dark pool. Fidelity used the dark pool to avoid having its orders move the market, but in fact its orders weren't being filled in the dark pool and so may have been completed after the market moved ahead of them.