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Schumer aka Flash Gordon


There’s an old joke in New York that the most dangerous place is the space between a TV camera and Sen. Chuck Schumer. And the New York Democrat’s love of the limelight certainly was on display late last week with regards to the increasingly controversial subject of high frequency trading.

Schumer’s staff didn’t waste time on Friday in announcing that the senator had sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, asking regulators to study some aspects of highly-automated stock and commodity trading.

Now rapid-fire trading, fueled by sophisticated computer programs, isn’t the kind of thing that naturally catches the attention of US senators. In all likelihood Schumer sent his letter to the SEC after reading a page one story in The New York Times, which focused on some of the concerns about HFT.

The Times story was a good one. Of course, I have to note  that the folks at Zerohedge have been writing about potential problems with HFT for a long, long time. And we at Reuters have aggressively covered the topic ever since we broke the news that Sergey Aleynikov was criminally charged with trying to steal some of the top secret compute code to Goldman Sachs’ proprietary HFT program.