Dark pools in crosshairs after Barclays charges

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Efforts to reform dark pool stock trading likely got a lift from accusations this week leveled against Barclays.

While industry insiders don't see an existential threat to dark pools, many think the high-profile case against the British bank will act as a clarion call for change.

"This Barclays thing is probably the spark that will start to clean things up," said Joe Saluzzi, co-founder of Themis Trading and an aggressive advocate in reforming the current trading climate. "Dark pools got out of control."

In a complaint filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Barclays stands accused of using its private trading system to benefit high-speed traders at the expense of other investors. The civil fraud case also alleges that the bank used marketing materials to falsely portray its system as set up to protect investors from predatory trading behavior.