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Foreign Exchange

HFT: Flash boys come to Asia

High-frequency trading is not confined to Europe and north America. Some Asia-Pacific countries are further along in embracing the strategy than others.

The reputation of high-frequency trading has suffered a comprehensive mauling of late, particularly in the US. The publication of the book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis concentrated the minds of regulators and prompted both angry retorts and a strong sense of soul searching within the industry itself. Whether the book was a fair representation of the industry is still open to debate, but there is now far more awareness on both sides of the Atlantic about the world of HFT.

Europe and the US are not the only places in the world where high-frequency trading has laid down roots. The Asia-Pacific region also has a healthy HFT presence, with some markets seeing a large proportion of overall trading volumes carried out by high-frequency players. The growth of HFT in Apac is often ignored as the battles between practitioners and regulators play out in the more established markets. But the global nature of finance and trading means the region has a number of opportunities for those with an appetite for trading electronically.

“High-frequency trading started in Asia-Pacific when the traditional US and European players started establishing a presence in the region as competition intensified at home,” says Hani Shalabi, head of advanced execution services for Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse.

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