The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is completing a road map that aims to rein in high-speed trading (HST) and bring it under increased oversight.
The document, which could be published next week, looks at how to prevent algorithms from spinning out of control and causing havoc on the markets, and whether HST firms should have to register with the government.
The CFTC is also assessing whether high-speed traders distort futures markets by conducting "wash trades," whereby they illegally act as buyer and seller in the same deal.
The road map comes amid rising concern that systems are becoming increasingly unstable. Serious events include Goldman Sachs's erroneous trades this week, those of Knight Capital last year, Facebook's botched IPO, and the flash crash of 2010, not to mention yesterday's Nasdaq outage.