SEC Tried to Make Markets Fair. Here’s What Happened

Two decades ago, a system for sending U.S. corporate filings over the Internet was hailed as a victory for transparency. Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Edgar website is engulfed by concern over opacity. Researchers checking whether documents are distributed to investors fairly by the SEC found evidence that some paying subscribers got the information first. The commission is reviewing how data is disseminated by the service, which was activated during the Clinton administration as a way to broaden access to potentially market-moving data, a spokesman said. This is what happens when a technology designed to solve problems in the 1990s becomes the focus of scrutiny so many years later, said Manoj Narang, the chief executive officer of proprietary trader Tradeworx Inc. Thanks to high-frequency trading, every detail of how data is broadcast to U.S. markets is being reviewed in probes by the New York attorney general, the FBI and the SEC itself. More on Bloomberg here.

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