The CBS program 60 Minutes aired a shocking discovery about the U.S. stock market this past Sunday. The program wasn’t talking about bears and bulls, but instead, predator and prey. CBS correspondent Steve Kroft interviews market insiders and best selling author Michael Lewis to talk about how “the most iconic global market in capitalism” (the U.S. stock market) is rigged.
You can see from the video below that it takes Lewis roughly 2 minutes to explain how high frequency traders have rigged the stock market like ticket scalpers at a ball game.
To put things into perspective, imagine you and your family are planning a vacation and you find airplane tickets online. You click a button to purchase those tickets and realize that you only bought one ticket and the other tickets just went up in value. This is essentially what is happening in the stock market and it’s achieved by using technology and speed to see your order at a BATS exchange, beat you to all the other U.S. exchanges and sell the order to you at a higher price.
Unlike ticket scalping, front running in the stock market seems to be so complex that it is actually legal! Not only is it legal, it’s a multi-BILLION dollar industry – creating absolutely nothing but wealth for the top players in the game (which may serve better in your pocket). Even mutual funds, pension funds and billion dollar bank funds fall victim to this scheme so the average Joe doesn’t stand a chance.
If you are invested in the stock market, have a managed investment account or invested in a fund that correlates with the stock market and want to watch out for the next “flash crash” or just get a better insight on what your money is supporting – you can watch the full interview on CBS below or read Michael Lewis’s new book “Flash Boys” which was just released yesterday.