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Level Playing Field


James B. Stewart, NYT, Common Sense, Fair Play Measured in Slivers of a Second, here. Trading is just like Physics, Math, Engineering, Medicine, or CS in that these systems are the strongest because if you do your research well, you aren’t at a disadvantage because of information you cannot access. If you have an idea about Quantum Computing, DNA sequencing, or the ABC conjecture at a rural West Virginia Community College there is nothing stopping you from competing in the totally fair marketplace of ideas in the strongest system in the world. That’s what makes our system the most robust in the world. That’s why we win. Hey you never know!

Mr. Schneiderman’s investigation is the latest in a long series of efforts to reduce both the reality and the perception that the nation’s securities markets are rigged to favor those who already have money, power and special access. A vast network of laws and regulations is aimed at creating a more level playing field for investors, like criminal laws that ban securities fraud and the S.E.C.’s Regulation Fair Disclosure, which requires companies to widely disseminate market-moving information about themselves. Consider also the simultaneous public release of government information like employment data and the Federal Reserve minutes.

The goal is not just fairness, but to make capital markets more robust by encouraging the public — not just professional speculators — to invest.

“The reason America’s markets are the best and strongest markets in the world is that individuals always believed they could get a fair trade,” Mr. Schneiderman told me this week. “If you did your research well, you weren’t at a disadvantage because of information you couldn’t possibly access. It wasn’t a rigged casino.”


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