SEC Launches (Glitchy) Database To Prevent Another Flash Crash

11/17/201836 Comments

Playing in the (manipulated and rigged) stock market is not for the faint of heart. Things can turn on a dime and that sure-fire stock you’re riding today might just revert to its intrinsic value (i.e., zero) tomorrow.

But as exciting as the markets can be, they’re rarely as terrifying as that 35-minute window from 2:32 PM to 3:07 PM on May 6, 2010, when the Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points and then gained most of it back. Now known as the “flash crash,” it was the largest single intraday swing in the history of the American markets, and for a heart-palpitating minute a trillion dollars in phony baloney paper “wealth” had been simply wiped out of existence.

But as I’ve discussed in these pages before, the <sarcasm>fine folks at the Securities and Exchange Commission</sarcasm> didn’t let the market contemplate the significance of that incredible plunge for very long. Downplaying the incident with an explanation that they were “investigating,” the SEC’s finest returned with their DOJ and FBI pals a scant five years later to throw a scapegoat in jail and sweep the whole affair under the rug. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. Of course. So the noble agents of the SEC got to work adopting a new rule that would require a Consolidated Audit Trail to “efficiently and accurately track all activity throughout the U.S. markets in National Market System (NMS) securities.” Specifically, the dream was to build a “supercomputer” that would act—in the memorable words of SEC Commissioner Kara Stein—as the “Hubble Telescope of securities markets.”

So what does all that mean in plain English?

Read all about the SEC’s new (glitch-ridden, useless, costly) plan for preventing the next flash crash and how it’s destined for failure in this week’s edition of The Corbett Report Subscriber. For full access to the subscriber newsletter, and to support this website, please become a member.

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