US spoofing crackdown is a case of misplaced priorities

In the world of high-frequency trading, there are worse practices than spoofing, but only spoofers are being sent to prison


US authorities are finally coming down hard on financial wrongdoing. But the wrongdoers are not the much-criticised bankers and mortgage brokers who provoked the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, the targets of the current crackdown are spoofers.

Spoofing is a high-frequency trading (HFT) strategy in which a firm places orders only to cancel them almost immediately, creating the illusion of liquidity. This practice was banned by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Anyone who doubts the sincerity of regulators’

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