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Are High-Frequency Traders Making Money At Your Expense?

Aaron Lebovitz, Infinium Capital Management, one of the leading high-frequency traders featured in Edgar Perez's The Speed Traders: An Insider's Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World (www.thespeedtraders.com), believes high-frequency trading is just automating the routine tasks that traders have been performing for decades. There is a misconception, he says,and thatclaims high-frequency trading is about making money at the expense of end users. "In fact, high-frequency trading is about innovating with technology to reduce market frictions. When Walmart figured out how to use technology to improve logistics and reduce costs, who benefitted? The consumer. Who didn't benefit? Sears, K-Mart, the other stores that were trying do the same thing but with a higher cost structure. The analogy is not perfect, but you get the point."

Lebovitz built the Algorithmic and Event Driven Trading department at Infinium Capital Management, a proprietary capital management firm with offices in Chicago, New York and London, into an exceptional force in the industry. Infinium was founded in Chicago in 2001 and built by a core team with decades of experience in trading, software development, and financial modeling. As most high-frequency trading firms, Infinium has no outside investors and only manages its own money. Infinium has a long history of partnering with exchanges to launch new products, increase participation in existing products and solve technology issues.

Lebovitz adds: "The facts are that our industry has historically been secretive about its activities, for various reasons. Some of this has to do with safeguarding intellectual property, but it also has to do with the creative destruction that this technological revolution has catalyzed. Some very established, very powerful industry players saw high-frequency trading as a threat to their distribution channels, or to their trading desks' ability to get paid for providing liquidity. That created a disincentive for high-frequency traders to advertise their presence. Now, it has become quite clear that there is a lack of information out there regarding the activities and contributions of high-frequency traders, which has in turn led to some misinformation filling the gaps. As practitioners, we have a responsibility to change that."

The Speed Traders, published by McGraw-Hill Inc., available online at amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, BORDERS, and INDIEBOUND, among multiple bookstores, is the most comprehensive, revealing work available on the most important development in trading in generations. High-frequency trading will no doubt play an ever larger role as computer technology advances and the global exchanges embrace fast electronic access. The Speed Traders explains everything there is to know about how today's high-frequency traders make millions-one cent at a time. In this new title, The Speed Traders, Perez opens the door to the secretive world of high-frequency trading. Inside, prominent figures drop their guard and speak with unprecedented candidness about their trade.

The Speed Traders Workshop 2012, "How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX" (www.thespeedtradersworkshop.com), will be held in Mexico City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and Jakarta.The Speed Traders Workshop 2012 will be extremely helpful for all delegates who are working in finance and investments, from financial institutions, investment banks, hedge funds, pension funds, broker dealers, consultancy groups, prime brokers, solution providers and exchanges, who wish to gain a thorough understanding and practical knowledge of high-frequency trading.

Perez is widely regarded as the pre-eminent networker in the specialized area of high-frequency trading. He has been featured on CNBC Cash Flow with Oriel Morrison (http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=2023403523), BNN Business Day with Kim Parlee (http://watch.bnn.ca/business-day/august-2011/business-day-august-19-2011/#clip519647), TheStreet.com with Gregg Greenberg (http://www.thestreet.com/video/11144274/high-frequency-traders-not-the-enemy.html), and Channel NewsAsiaCent & Sensibilities with Lin Xue Ling, and engaged as speaker at Harvard Business School's 17th Annual Venture Capital & Private Equity Conference, High-Frequency Trading Leaders Forum 2011 (New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Singapore), CFA Singapore, Hong Kong Securities Institute, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (New York), Global Growth Markets Forum (London), Technical Analysis Society (Singapore), Middle East Hedge Funds Investors Summit 2012 (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), among other global forums.

Perez was a vice president at Citigroup, a senior consultant at IBM, and a consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New York City. Perez has an undergraduate degree from Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima, Peru (1994), a Master of Administration from Universidad ESAN, Lima, Peru (1997) and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School, with a dual major in Finance and Management (2002). He belongs to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. Perez resides in the New York City area and is an accomplished salsa and hustle dancer.

Perez is one of the great business networkers and motivators on the lecture circuit; he is available worldwide for the following speaking engagements: Present and Future of High-Frequency Trading, The Real Story behind the "Flash Crash", Networking for Financial Executives, and Business Networking for Success.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.