New York AG now focusing on high frequency trades

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High-frequency trading is getting scrutinized by the New York Attorney General’s office – as investigations involving federal authorities continue into the controversial practice. Among the firms named in a Wall Street Journal report are Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Credit Suisse, as AG Eric Schneiderman's office decides if high-frequency trading firms had advantages over other investors through private venues run by the banks, known as “dark pools.” His office wants the banks to provide information that could show if high-speed firms had “secret arrangements,” the report said. Such arrangements may give firms unfair preferences in making trades. In total, some half-dozen banks could be investigated by the state’s Attorney General’s office, news reports said. And Goldman Sachs’ private stock-trading venue “Sigma X” could be closed down, according to news reports – but no decision on its future has been made. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are looking at high-speed trading, as well. In particular, the DOJ and FBI may be looking at whether the almost instant trades violate insider trading regulations, according to Fortune. On Friday, Goldman Sachs disclosed – for the first time – there are inquiries taking place related to high-frequency trading. Its hiring practices were questioned in light of U.S. anti-bribery laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well. One question is if the hiring of relatives of foreign officials would violate the FCPA. Word of the investigations was included in a company quarterly filing with the SEC. Goldman Sachs also confirmed in the filing it was a defendant in a class-action lawsuit, The Journal reported. Exchanges and securities firms may have violated insider-trading and market manipulation regulations, the report about the lawsuit adds. The lawsuit was filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Combining Teamwork with Ruthless Selfishness to Progress a Career (eFinancialCareers) Investment banks won’t let you through the door unless you’re a team-player, but you still need to look after number one. Edward Jones Brokerage Expands to Cities (WSJ) Edward Jones traditionally has targeted small-town investors, but is now expanding in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities. That means sales tactics will likely change. Are You in the Right Career? (eFinancialCareers) Do you dream of escaping banking and living in a sustainable city with a loft apartment and a single gear bike?  A new box set from the therapeutic and philosophical ‘School of Life’ in London purports to pose 100 questions that will help you establish whether you are on track with your career, or whether you’re positioning yourself for regret, cynicism and abandonment of your ideals. Young Banker Opts for Startups (Bloomberg) Umber Ahmad, a former mergers and acquisitions specialist, missed dinners, family events and other occasions, while working 70- and 80-hour weeks at Morgan Stanley and at Goldman Sachs. Life was not ideal, so last year she co-founded Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, a pastry company, and also now works as a managing director at the Specialized Capital Management & Advisory firm. Bayou Founder Claims Medical Malpractice in Prison (Fin Alternatives) Samuel Israel, co-founder of the Bayou Group, and who faked his own death to avoid prison, claims to be the victim of medical malpractice by prison doctors. He suffered a chest infection and could not get his needed pain medication. Hedge Funds See Small Loss in April (Fin Alternatives) Hedge funds saw a small loss in April, according to Hedge Fund Research, which reports its HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index shed 0.17% during the month, and edged up 0.9% on the year. Both were less than the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. ICE CEO Wants to Make Stock Trades Simpler (FT) Jeff Sprecher, CEO at IntercontinentalExchange Group, which now owns NYSE Euronext, wants their equity exchanges in the U.S. to become less complex. That includes a moratorium on new order types. Buzz Around the Office Some Passengers Are Dummies (MSN) Some commuters will do anything to get into a highway lane reserved for carpools. An unidentified man driving into Boston last week was pulled over by a police officer who found the “passenger” was in fact a propped-up mannequin head. Someone had also placed a mustache on the dummy. The driver was given a ticket for operating a car on an excluded way. He needed at least one real person in the car, besides himself, to legally drive in the carpool lane. Quote of the Day “If all you're doing is making money, you have a luxurious but empty life.” -      Amanda Donohoe