August 26, 2013
Last Friday Nasdaq halted trading for stocks listed on its exchange. The problem persisted for a few hours and caused a firestorm of news and complaints. I heard many people on TV and the internet take up the torch exclaiming how "The markets are broken," or "High-frequency trading is destroying the integrity of our markets."
Now, I have to admit that the communication out of Nasdaq on the issue was fairly poor. That was probably not the best way to handle the situation. However, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't affected (meaning my clients weren't affected) by this issue at all. A few tickers on my screen didn't display proper prices and that was about it.
At the worst, a client might have called, asking to sell a Nasdaq-listed stock. I would have had to let them know that we couldn't sell until the problem was resolved. That might be an inconvenience, but certainly not the end of the world.
I heard outrage on the news, social media sites, and even from a few acquaintances. To me it seemed like an overreaction and a bit ridiculous. Of course we want a perfect trading system that never has errors or outages, but isn't that a bit much to expect? Any computer system will have occasional glitches and if the difference between success and failure of your investment process is a matter of a few hours, you're doing it wrong.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).