SEC's hired gun on HFT gets permanent role


There's a new HFT sheriff in town and not only does he know what goes on inside trading firms, he has the power and the tools to oversee high-speed traders and their ways.

According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has "promoted its computer-trading specialist, boosting his office's effort to scrutinize rapid-fire trading's impact on equity markets."

Gregg E. Berman was named associate director of the SEC's new office of analytics and research today. The 46 year-old had been working at the agency as a temporary appointee to improve the SEC's monitoring of electronic trading.

"Though the markets may be complex, they are not impenetrable, and I am confident in our abilities to continue developing data-driven analyses to inform policy," Berman said in a press statement. Bloomberg reports that he holds a doctorate in physics from Princeton University.

Under the new associate director the SEC has implemented a new system - code-named Midas - to collect trading data generated by exchanges such as NYSE Euronext and CBOE Holdings.  The new system gives the agency the same data banks and high-frequency traders use in their trading days.

According to media reports, Berman played a major role in writing the consolidated audit trail rule, which requires all exchanges to track every order and trade.

Berman's office has fewer than 10 people and the SEC plans to add Wall Street analysts and specialists. The newly hired staffers are offered two-year stints, due to restraints on the SEC's ability to hire permanent, non-attorney employees, reports Bloomberg.

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