June 4, 2019 / 3:24 PM / 6 months ago

Trading exchanges in no hurry to erect 'speed bumps'

LONDON (Reuters) - Top trading exchanges said on Tuesday they would not rush into introducing “speed bumps” to slow down high-technology trading and ensure a more level playing field with traditional market participants.

Last month, Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE) was given permission from U.S. regulators to introduce the first “speed bump - or Passive Order Protection feature - in the U.S. futures markets. That followed complaints from some market players that hi-tech traders had an unfair speed advantage forcing them to spend large sums on technology.

Thomas Book, chief executive of Germany’s Eurex exchange, said on Tuesday it had launched a six-month pilot scheme.

“I don’t like the term speed bump,” Book told the annual IDX derivatives industry conference in London.

The pilot was not about discriminating in favor or against certain market users or about slowing down trading, he said, adding that high-speed traders played a useful role in markets.

“We are about fairness in price discovery,” Book said, referring to the creation of prices when buy and sell orders are matched.

William Knottenbelt, senior managing director, international, at CME, told the conference it was looking at a variety of measures.

“In looking at those, we have not come up with any clear measure that shows it helps the market. At this moment in time it’s not on the table,” Knottenbelt said.

ICE will initially apply a three millisecond pause to certain incoming orders for its Gold Daily and Silver Daily futures.

Stuart Williams, president of ICE Futures Europe, said the exchange was trying to encourage more orders onto markets.

“We will see how that plays out and see if there are any unintended consequences,” Williams said.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter

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