Free Site Registration

Navigating Complex Trading Strategies Demands Surveillance Focus and Specialization

Traders Magazine Online News, May 10, 2017

Brian Morris

Industry, self-regulatory organizations (“SROs”), from the exchanges to FINRA, and federal regulatory bodies, including the SEC and CFTC, have become far more vigilant with surveillance, and proactive with seeking the associated fines, censures, and sanctions related to manipulative trading. Regulatory scrutiny has increased in line with more complicated, faster, and anonymous execution.  

Lime Brokerage defines a variety of trading activities and how a broker dealer can efficiently and effectively utilize multiple surveillance tools to identify those possible manipulative practices. With detailed information in hand, it is imperative to work with clients to explain surveillance findings, engage their insights and input, and rectify any issues before the need for regulatory intervention.

Brian Morris

There are multitudes of manipulative activities that regulators have focused on in recent years.

Spoofing is one such activity, which occurs when a trader enters orders that they do not intend to execute, versus a bona fide order on the opposing side of the market, in an effort to achieve a beneficial fill price or increase the likelihood of execution. Regulators have taken actions against a number of traders and brokerage firms recently with sizeable fines and even securing jail sentences and criminal charges. FINRA, CME, and the national regulators have recently broadened the scope of activity that could be considered fraudulent, by bringing charges for the very broadly defined “attempted spoof.”

Regulators, and in particular, FINRA, continue to develop surveillance software designed to identify instances of spoofing, attempted spoofing, and most recently, cross-market spoofing. Those who access the markets, or supply access to others, must be aware of the no tolerance approach and regulatory environment for any activity that is deemed to be disruptive. Brian Morris, Lime’s head of surveillance, states, “Spoofing can certainly keep surveillance and compliance officers up at night. Without proper surveillance software and an educated staff that is able to detect and distinguish differences between bona fide order entry and potentially manipulative activity, firms are exposing themselves to significant regulatory and reputational risk.”

In addition to spoofing, surveillance officers are also concerned with other activities that may be considered manipulative or disruptive by regulators. FINRA mentioned in its most recent annual report that marking the open and close, using layered prices to influence options pricing and manipulating ETFs, are all concerns of the industry’s self-regulator. Additionally, FINRA, BATS, NYSE, and Nasdaq have communicated a desire to initiate an expedited proceeding, in the event that a firm is facilitating orders that may be disruptive in nature; orders that are not necessarily detectable without a dedicated and vigorous surveillance program, process, and procedures. 

For more information on related topics, visit the following channels:

Comments (0)

Add Your Comments:

You must be registered to post a comment.

Not Registered? Click here to register.

Already registered? Log in here.

Please note you must now log in with your email address and password.