"I think it is very stupid to allow a system to evolve where half of the trading is a bunch of short-term people trying to get information one millionth of a nanosecond ahead of somebody else," said Charlie Munger, the right-hand man to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, at the Berkshire Hathaway investor confab last year.
"It's legalized front-running. I think it is basically evil and I don't think it should have ever been allowed to reach the size that it did," he continued. "Why should all of us pay a little group of people to engage in legalized front-running of our orders?"
Munger isn't the only one. One noted economist, Michael Spence, has argued high-frequency trading should be banned. And regulators have periodically expressed qualms about the practice and its effect on markets, particularly regarding the Flash Crash.
Maybe Virtu will change the discussion because investors will be able to now buy into high-frequency trading, instead of just complaining about it.
"If, over the year, their high-frequency trading program prospers, this gives investors the opportunity to ride with them," said Ross.