UK watchdog imposes first fine on high-frequency trading

LONDON, July 22 Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:52am EDT

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - Britain's Financial Conduct Authority has fined U.S. based trader Michael Coscia nearly $1 million for manipulating commmodities markets, its first penalty on ultra-fast trading.

High-frequency trading (HFT) uses so-called algorithmic software programmes to post orders in the blink of an eye.

The FCA said Coscia used an algorithmic programme in 2011 to "instigate an abusive trading strategy".

Coscia placed thousands of false orders for Brent crude, Gas Oil and Western Texas Intermediate futures from the United States on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in Britain, the FCA said.

Coscia made a profit of $279,920 over a six-week period of trading at the expense of other market participants, mainly other HFT traders.