A study by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) into the impact of high-frequency trading (HFT) on Canadian equity markets has not uncovered any issues that justify any regulatory intervention, the self-regulatory organization (SRO) announced Wednesday.
Instead, the results of the study suggest that HFT has “mostly positive impacts” on the markets and investors, IIROC says in a statement.
For example, the IIROC study found that high-frequency traders (HFTs) generally add liquidity, and that they contribute substantially to price discovery, according the IIROC study.
As well, the majority of passive orders from HFT “either improve the best price or match the prevailing best prices,” the IIROC report says. The report also notes that there is “little evidence” that HFTs take advantage of slower traders.
Absent the need for further regulatory action, IIROC will “continue to be proactive in strengthening the oversight and regulation of trading in a manner that fosters fair and efficient markets and protects investors,” the IIROC report says. To that end, the SRO says that it will keep up with innovations in trading technology and market structure; and continue to monitor trading activity to ensure compliance with the existing trading rules.
“Our HFT research demonstrates how IIROC uses empirical information and objective analysis to inform policy development,” says Victoria Pinnington, senior vice president of market regulation at IIROC, in a statement. “As a public interest regulator, it was important to conduct comprehensive research to help us all better understand HFT and its effects on Canadian market.”