'Money & Speed' and the May 2010 Flash Crash
A Dutch documentary points out that many questions about the flash crash of 2010 remain unanswered.
By Katherine Heires
For many market participants, the flash crash of May 6, 2010 in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 600 points and then quickly bounced back remains a touchstone, invoked after each subsequent market glitch, from the botched IPOs of Facebook and BATS Global Markets to Knight Capitals rogue software.
The crash brought into stark relief some of the risks and dangers of high-speed trading in todays highly interconnected markets and revealed the limitations of regulatory oversight at the time for algorithm-based and high frequency trading activity. But after a joint investigation and report into the crash by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, many argue that the true story of the flash crash remains untold.
One vocal example is Dutch filmmaker Marije Meerman, whose documentary on the crash, entitled Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box, originally broadcast on Dutch television, is now available as an English-language version on YouTube. According to Meerman, though the documentary was first released in January 2011, several months after the flash crash, it raises questions that remain relevant today: Why did the SEC/CFTC report conclude that just one firm (later named as Waddell & Reed) was responsible for the trading that caused the crash, when a more minute analysis shows contrary findings? Who was buying at the absolute bottom of the market during the crash? And could a flash crash be deliberately engineered to create arbitrage opportunities from todays lopsided technical infrastructure, allowing some firms to get market information before others?....