Pierre-Henri ConacFrom: Regulation of the EU Financial Markets: MiFID II and MiFIR
Edited By: Danny Busch, Guido Ferrarini
This chapter analyses the MiFID II rules on algorithmic trading (AT), including high-frequency trading (HFT). The author argues that AT raises serious issues of volatility and systemic risk, and HFT issues of systematic front-running of investors. However, opinions are divided on the benefits and risks of these techniques, especially HFT. MiFID II takes a technical approach mostly focused on prevention of a repeat of the 2010 ‘Flash Crash’ with provisions on market abuse. The ESMA 2012 Guidelines remain the most effective regulation to frame the development of HFT, able to tackle market developments with relative speed. However, with implementation of the directive still far away, prosecution of market abuse among HFT traders by legislators and supervisors could lead to a de facto ban of HFT in some Member States. However, the author argues that supervisors would need to allocate scarce resources to it, at great cost, and only the most motivated supervisors will do so.