High-Frequency Trading

SEC official: What's hurting the 'little guy'

Wall Street's watchdog eyes HFT

SEC Commissioner Dan Gallagher said Friday he believes the perception that high-frequency trading hurts the "little guy" has become reality.

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During an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Gallagher said he feels the SEC should review how it handles high-frequency trading some time this year. The practice, in which investment firms use algorithms and powerful computers to automate trades in milliseconds, has come under scrutiny because critics say it creates unfair advantages over investors without super-fast processors.

"The problem with high-frequency trading right now is that there's a perception that for the little guy, the markets aren't fair," Gallagher said. "That perception to me is a reality. It's something we need to address."

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Gallagher, an SEC commissioner since 2011, told CNBC he believes the regulatory agency will examine how it handles high-frequency trading this year.

"It's just gotten too automated," Gallagher said. "It's gotten automated because of our own rules. It's time that we do this."

His comments come a week after New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he would open a probe into computer-driven trading. On Thursday, Nasdaq-OMX CEO Robert Greifeld said that an outright ban on high-frequency trading was unlikely.

—Reuters contributed to this report.