LBO:Private Equity::HFT:Algorithmic Trading?

The High-Frequency Traders who have been distorting the U.S. stock market and raising the costs for everyone else have had their pride wounded. After starting with a straightforward definition:

High frequency trading — the use of computer-driven, algorithmic-based techniques to execute trades in a matter of microseconds — is drawing scrutiny, but Wall Street argues regulators may be focusing on the wrong issues.

we quickly get the we-don’t-like-our-name crowd:

“The term is widely used. Yet you never find a definition for it,” said Chris Concannon, partner at Virtu Financial. “People have stats based on a term that has not been defined. How do you know that HFT volume in the US moved up to 63% without knowing what that term even means?” he asked.

Rarely do journalists make people stupider so quickly, outside of political reporting.

It gets worse:

Virtu Financial is often referred to a high frequency trading firm. But Concannon says he struggles with the definition. “The brand we like to fit under is electronic market making,” he said. “we need to craft better terms,” he added.

Other panelists also seemed reluctant to define themselves as high frequency traders. Adam Nunes of Hudson River Trading, said his firm, founded by mathematicians, considered itself a “quantitative trading” outfit….

It was a theme echoed later in the day by NYSE Euronext(NYX) COO Larry Leibowitz. “We have lumped anyone who does algorithmic trading into high frequency because so much of what algorithm trading does is high frequency,” he said.

Gosh, the poor, suffering HFT traders who desperately want another name. But at least we know that Regulatory Capture is still enforced:

Gregg Berman, senior advisor to the director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, said there was no “clear, identifiable” link between high-frequency trading and the volatility that was experienced in the global market in August. He called the debate over HFT’s role, “high frequency theorizing”, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Yep, it’s all just theory (last link h/t Barry Ritholtz).