Tagged: Themis Trading

Bourbon Street Market

The equity market is like Bourbon Street.

No, we don’t mean the stock market is home to “Big Daddy’s World Famous Love Acts.” We mean it’s a bit off, a party, somewhat wanton, full of folks in disguise doing things they wouldn’t do anywhere else. Fantastical.

I interviewed Joe Saluzzi at the NIRI Southwest Regional Conference last week in New Orleans. Joe and co-founder Sal Arnuk at Themis Trading are the reason we all know about “high frequency trading.” Their white paper on toxic equity trading went viral in 2008, and the rest is history.

We sat down Charlie-Rose-style at the Hotel Monteleone and talked candidly about Joe’s new book, “Broken Markets: How High Frequency Trading and Predatory Practices on Wall Street Are Destroying Investor Confidence.”

If you haven’t done so, buy it for yourself (I have it on my Kindle) and get a copy for your CFO or CEO. Everybody who at some time utters the word “equity” should read it.

If you’re in the IR chair, executives expect you to deliver a story to investors that advances shareholder value. You want a market that supports those efforts by helping risk-taking capital connect to the opportunity in your shares. Most executives generally conclude that it’s working. Stocks seem to be trading comparably to historical S&P 500 earnings multiples.

So why would Joe and Sal argue that markets are broken? (more…)

Broken Markets

Our good friends Joe Saluzzi and Sal Arnuk, proprietors of Themis Trading and experts on market structure, have at last written a book about markets. They guest-blog today at the Market Structure Map.

We’re out this week Riding the Rockies from Gunnison to Fort Collins, covering 450 miles and some 25,000 feet on pedals and small seats. Assuming we survive it, we’ll tell you about it next week. Meantime, read this, and buy the book, Broken Markets. Every IRO, every executive, should read it.

Mark your calendars: Plan to attend the NIRI Southwest Regional Conference Aug 15-17 in New Orleans. I’ll be there, where I’ll interview Joe Saluzzi on the state of modern markets.

Now, Joe and Sal:

Trust and confidence in the stock market has been shattered in the past few years.

Events like the May 2010 Flash Crash, the failed BATS IPO and the Facebook fiasco have frustrated investors, leaving them wondering “what the heck is going on?”

In response, they have pulled their money out of domestic equity mutual funds week after week.

Since the Flash Crash, nearly $300 billion has been withdrawn from domestic equity mutual funds, according to the latest report from the Investment Company Institute. (more…)

Public Companies, Pay Your Market-Makers

 Apparently, exchanges are not bastions of deep liquidity.

 In a bombshell dropped at a congressional hearing yesterday, top executives for the NYSE and the Nasdaq proposed – to borrow from humorist Dave Barry, we SWEAR we are not making this up – that you pay them fees, small-cap companies, which they will distribute to market-makers to incentivize trading in ETFs that trade your shares.

 Exchanges already incentivize most trades, but in the hundred most liquid names there’s great profit in the data off the consolidated tape. You small-caps offer no profit. So in addition to charging you listing fees, they now want to charge you market-making fees – but in the ETFs that hold your stocks.

 Congresspersons unfamiliar with how arbitrage works and how ETFs are principally one-day investment vehicles won’t see through this self-serving and patently ridiculous proposal. The SEC may also overlook the glaring contradiction to well-functioning capital markets and approve it. Public companies don’t read exchange proposals as they should and don’t comment on them.  No opposition? Approved.

 For more, we’ve asked permission to re-run a blog post today by Joe Saluzzi at Themis Trading: (more…)

A Lighter Shade of Dark

Want to know about dark pools? Join the NIRI Virtual Chapter at noon eastern time Wednesday May 25.

I’m moderating the discussion. The all-star panel includes Nicole Olson of storied dark pool Liquidnet; Adam Sussman of expert market-structure research firm TABB Group; and Joe Saluzzi at Themis Trading, one of today’s leading voices on the nature of trading markets. You know him from Bloomberg, 60 Minutes and CNBC.

Two weeks ago at the NIRI finale for the season here in Denver, we were indulging in the benefits of having brewery Molson Coors in the chapter. And someone was talking to me about “black pools.”

I thought, “IR folks don’t get dark pools yet.”

This afternoon an IR pro in California emailed, asking how to figure out what percentage of their shares trade in dark pools. You can’t know, exactly. (more…)