Saturday, August 15, 2009

SGX wades into "dark pools"

"If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything" - Win Borden

It's finally here with SGX being the first Asian exchange to back dark pool, though the platform is neutral and independent of any brokerage. It give more anonymity to investors who do not want details of their deals exposed to the marketplace until the deal is done.

I'm not sure how much impact it will have for traders like us though we are trading futures. Our main concern now is "algo" trading, those powerful super computer with servers sitting in SingTel to execute trades many times faster than you blink your eye. It cost around S$15,000 a month to have the server there with more than 20 already taken up.

High volume scalpers are the most affected by the "algos" with many finding it tough to compete in term of execution speed. Their profitability have been greatly affected, there is no more edge for them. Further more, with their financial muscle power together with the computer brain to calculate net long/short position in the market and digesting other important information, traders felt squeezed by the "algos".

Though being a scalper myself, I have reduced my trading volume tremendously in the past few months, partly due to poor health, AFACT and market conditions. No doubt my profitability have been affected as well.

The market keep changing with new players who are well informed and knowledgeable. Days of many "Yum" trades are getting lesser with these "algos" having the edge.

I don't feel pessimistic like some of my fellow traders, what we need is a change in our trading techniques, mindset and be flexible to adapt to the changing environment. I still find many trading opportunities the whole trading day, just need to be patient and wait for the durian to drop.

Profit to date for the special account is S$8,733.00, still holding long 4 Topix/Nikkei spread. It has been a tough 2 weeks for me as I recuperate from the operation, my worst performance so far since coming back to trade at the arcade. I feel sleepy everyday, unable to focus and concentrate, probably didn't sleep well at night.

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