Mark Cuban On High Frequency Trading: Risk Is “Unquantifiable”

screen shot via CNBC

There may be no way to analyze the risks of high-frequency trading on Wall Street, Mark Cuban told CNBC’s “Halftime Report” on March 31. The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks told the financial news network the amount of risk is simply “unquantifiable.” In Cuban’s estimation, there is not enough upside to the practice to allow it to continue apace.

Speaking on the day MichaelLewis’s Flash Boys was released, Cuban warned about the same risks from Wall Street Lewis highlighted in a March 30 interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Cuban: Risks Bigger Than Any Investors

According to Cuban, the risks involved with high-frequency trading could affect nations as a whole.

The risk isn’t so much about the small investor,” Cuban told CNBC. “The risk is all these different high-frequency traders playing a game with their algorithms, trying to trick each other, to get in front of each other to make that trade.”

As the world’s most advanced traders do battle with these tools, Cuban said they do nothing except benefit a few while the risks remain vast.

[W]hat I do know is that high-frequency trading does nothing to stimulate or support capital formation in markets,” Cuban said on “Halftime Report”, adding that “the idea of owning a share of stock in the company is supposed to be about ownership in that company.”

Flash Boys and High Frequency Trading

The appearance of Moneyball author MichaelLewis on “60 Minutes” March 30 has brought the excesses Cuban addressed to the attention of the mainstream press. Calling the U.S. stock “rigged,” Lewis detailed how high-frequency traders use legal tactics to trim fractions off prices, adding up to millions or more in the course of a year.

Cuban has never been shy about criticizing such trading practices in the past. In the billionaire investor’s view, “…owning a share of stock is supposed to be about owning equity in a company, and I think we’ve lost track of that,” he told CNBC. “And that’s a real problem.”