Citadel Exec. Derides ‘Flash Boys’ Claims

Apr 30 2014 | 11:07am ET

A Citadel Investment Group executive has joined the chorus of Wall Street honchos criticizing author Michael Lewis’ critique of high-frequency trading.

Lewis’ new book, Flash Boys, argues that HFT allows a form of front-running and is, in effect, insider-trading. The author alleges that the practice has “rigged” U.S. securities markets.

In fact, however, it does nothing of the sort, Citadel Execution Services chief Jamil Nazarali said this week. “Things are much better today than they were 10 to 15 years ago,” with small and retail investors often getting better prices than institutional investors such as his firm.

Nazarali’s take was echoed in the halls of Congress yesterday by Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White, who flatly refuted Lewis’ thesis. “The markets are not rigged,” she said. “The U.S. markets are the strongest and most reliable in the world.”

“I want to be very clear that the market metrics suggest that the retail investor is… very well-served by the current market structure,” she added.

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