Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

High-speed trading firms not sweating new regs

Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, listens during a meeting at the U.S. Treasury, May 7, 2014.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

High-frequency trading firms will continue to thrive despite finding themselves this week in the crosshairs of federal regulators, according to industry experts.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White in a speech Thursday detailed sweeping reforms she believes are needed to develop a more efficient market structure. The changes come amid intense scrutiny—and a much-discussed Michael Lewis book—for high-speed outfits that have come to dominate trading.

But the former CEO of GETCO—once a giant of the HFT industry now known as KCG Holdings—said new rules aimed at transparency and maintaining market order shouldn't have a burdensome impact on most firms.

"The speech showed very good understanding of market structure and some of the nuances that need to be addressed," said Keith Ross, now the CEO of PDQ ATS, a Chicago-based trading platform that employs its own strategy to give investors a leg up in the increasingly complicated and high-speed market. "I don't see anything in here that's going to be onerous for them. They're bright and energetic and they will adjust to the landscape, and markets will continue to do well."