The Future of Computer Trading in the Financial Markets - an International Perspective

Tuesday, 23rd October 2012, 2.00-3.00 pm

Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, House of Commons

Download flyer

The Future of Computer Trading in the Financial Markets - an International Perspective

A seminar to mark the launch of Foresight's report on Computer Trading,held jointly with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology


Computer trading has revolutionised how financial markets operate. Most trading today is automated, carried out by computers running complex mathematical algorithms. In the case of “High Frequency Trading” - also known as “lightning-fast trading” - computers buy and sell shares in millionths of a second. In the time it took you to read this sentence, a High Frequency Trading platform could execute hundreds of thousands of trades.


High Frequency Trading accounts for over half of all financial trading worldwide and generated billions of pounds of revenue last year. But events like the “Flash Crash” of 2010 - when the Dow Jones fell 600 points in five minutes - are a reminder of the risks involved in relying on computers to perform trades with minimal human intervention.


Debate is heating up over whether computer trading helps or hinders financial markets, but scientific analysis has been thin on the ground. Drawing on input from 150 academics in over 20 countries, the Foresight report is the most comprehensive study of its kind.


Foresight’s research also assesses the costs and benefits of EU policies related to computer trading, as the EU revises the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) which sets out how financial markets are regulated.



The launch will be chaired by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington. Other speakers include:


·         Dr Jean Pierre Zigrand, Reader in Finance, London School of Economics

·         Professor Oliver Linton, Chair of Political Economy, Cambridge University 

·         Professor Dave Cliff , Professor of Computer Science, University of Bristol

If you would like to attend the launch please RSVP to

There is a separate briefing for the media the previous day - please contact Karen Wood for details at