Tags: Buffett | Munger | Traders | Rats

Buffett Partner Munger: High Frequency Traders Are Like ‘Rats’ in a Grainery

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 07:38 AM

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Letting high frequency computer traders into equities markets is like allowing rats in the grainery, says Charlie Munger, vice chairman at famed investor Warren Buffett's investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway.

"Take the rapid trading by the computer geniuses with the computer algorithms...those people have all the social utility of a bunch of rats admitted to a grainery," Munger tells CNBC.

Many blame high frequency traders, who use complex computer systems to buy and sell shares for as little as seconds, for the Flash Crash of 2010, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average fall around 1,000 points only to quickly recover it.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

Munger says he'd like to see high frequency trading gone, adding markets need “the right incentives [so] the gamblers couldn’t win on the short-term trading.”

Higher taxes on gains from short-term trades would be a start.

The government, meanwhile, is cracking down on the problem, announcing a $14 million settlement with high-frequency trading firm Optiver, accused of manipulating the oil market.

Amsterdam-based Optiver agreed to hand over $1 million in profits and pay a $13 million civil penalty over allegations it used spit-fire technology to influence U.S. oil prices in 2007, Reuters reports.

The case went before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over concerns such practices helped push oil up to $150 a barrel in 2008.

"The CFTC will not tolerate traders who try to gain an unlawful advantage by using sophisticated means to drive oil and gas futures prices in their favor," David Meister, the CFTC's enforcement chief, says in a statement, Reuters adds.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.


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