Virtu may delay IPO amid high-speed trading uproar – Bloomberg

(Reuters) – High-speed trading company, Virtu Financial Inc, will not market its initial public offering until after April 20, delaying the process from this week, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the report.

New York-based Virtu is among the top U.S.-based high-frequency trading (HFT) firms.

HFT has come under intense scrutiny in recent days, coinciding with the release of author Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” on Monday. The book claims the U.S. stock market is rigged in favor of high-speed trading firms, which use their advantages of speed to extract billions from the financial market.

On Tuesday the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it had several active investigations into possible wrongdoing by high-frequency stock traders and other equity market structure issues.

Virtu provides quotes in more than 10,000 securities and contracts on more than 210 venues in 30 countries, according to its IPO filing, said Bloomberg, which first reported the story.

The move also coincides with investigation by U.S. federal agents on whether high-speed trading companies violate U.S. laws by using fast-moving market information not available to other traders.

High-frequency trading (HFT) is a practice carried out by many banks and proprietary trading firms using sophisticated computer programs to send high volumes of order into the market, executing a small portion of them when opportunities arise to capitalize on price imbalances, or to make markets. HFT makes up more than half of all U.S. trading volume.

The trading methods and technology that make HFT possible are all legal, and the stock exchanges HFT firms trade on are highly regulated. But Lewis said these firms are using their speed advantage to profit at the expense of other market participants to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

New York state’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently said he believes U.S. stock exchanges and other platforms provide HFT firms with unfair advantages.

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