DRIVING THE CONVERSATION – New Michael Lewis book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt," is out Monday from W.W. Norton. Today’s Financial Times has a sneak peek on p. 9, "Flash Boys start soul searching on Wall St," by Arash Massoudi and Tracy Alloway in New York : "Michael Lewis, the author of ‘Liar’s Poker’ and ‘The Big Short,’ has Wall Street on edge. The prospect of a new book by the prolific former bond salesman turned chief scrutiniser, taking a hard look at the predatory world of high-frequency trading, is spurring industry participants to change their approach to a business that has revolutionised stock markets.

"The release … of ‘Flash Boys’ … comes after years of public debate over the lightning fast trading systems which have grown to dominate a fractured terrain where multiple exchanges and bank-run trading platforms compete for orders. In the two weeks before publication of Mr Lewis’s book, Goldman Sachs has suddenly thrown its weight behind market reform after years of investment in HFT [high-frequency trading] and taken the highly unusual step of telling staff to publicise its support for a competing trading platform.

"Regulators are also showing renewed interest. New York attorney-general Eric Schneiderman last week revived long-running … arguments against HFT by targeting the relationship between stock exchanges and trading firms in the latest part of an investigation into what he calls ‘Insider Trading 2.0.’ … Over the last two decades, HFT firms have employed fibreoptics, microwaves and drones to shave microseconds off the time it takes to execute a trade."
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