Another excellent hack

Hedge fund traders have been eavesdropping on the Bank of England’s press conferences before they have been officially broadcast, it has been reported.

One of the Bank’s suppliers has been leaking an audio feed of press conferences to high-speed traders, giving them the opportunity to act on Mark Carney’s comments before the rest of the world, The Times said.

Quite how high speed it was I’m not sure. Taking the audio feed directly might shave a second or two? Summat? Off the time it takes to get to the TV station, then be broadcast out, received? For I assume the press conferences are live and that live really is live. But then even live isn’t instant, is it?

Now, if someone wanted to be truly useful they’d hack into the bit where they draft the press releases…..

20 thoughts on “Another excellent hack”

  1. Remember kids, all the effort put into such minute whizzkid financial engineering creates masses of value for all of us. It’s not some Rolex-jangling flash Harry in a Porsche making a margin off pensioners shareholdings at all!

  2. Given that high speed traders worry about differences measured in milliseconds, a second or two is a huge margin in which to operate.

  3. Depending on the exact broadcast train could easily be 10+ seconds.

    But if it is a press conference can’t they just send a member of a press to relay it to them live anyway?

  4. Off topics but there are some bang on comments over on the gUrdian about Labour’s and the left media reaction to the Labour defeat:

    “Haven’t you heard?

    It was Brexit; the media; Laura Keunssberg; the idiots and racists in the electorate; the red Tories not having faith; Scorpio ascending in Capricorn or something; the Bilderburg group; the Dave Clark Five group; the few, FPTP etc.

    One thing it wasn’t was the Corbyn project. Just one more push comrades! To follow the “One more pushes” from ’17 and ’19. To the Twitter barricades!”

    “The Twitter barricades” – arf arf

    “There is a hashtag #corbynwasright. Read the first few tweets and gave up. It was a mix of religeous hysteria and political masturbation. The adoration and worship was frightening in its intensity.”

    “political masturbation” arf arf

  5. I have three time zones for the radios in my gaff – usually Radio 4.

    FM is fastest (bathroom as battery powered)
    DAB radio (everywhere else) is about two seconds or so later, so the pips are no use for anyone with an atomic calibrated watch
    Then if I listen through Amazon Echo, via BBC sounds, it’s about 5 or six seconds later.
    Haven’t tried long wave for Radio 4 as I don’t like cricket

    Fun to have all three going at the same time

  6. “Given that high speed traders worry about differences measured in milliseconds, a second or two is a huge margin in which to operate”

    “Depending on the exact broadcast train could easily be 10+ seconds”

    If they could find a purely analogue route, instead of the near universal digital transmission used now, it would be faster! Even mobile phones incur a small delay – that’s why feedback is rarely a problem these days. Time to dig out an old shortwave transmitter & receiver…

  7. The sound track was marginally ahead of the pictures for the Liverpool game yesterday afternoon. So I’d see the chap in the act of shooting and the commentator would simultaneously tell me that the goalie had made a good save. No wonder I fell asleep.

  8. “You can’t time the market.”

    But you can micro time the market.

    High speed, low drag trader hacks feed, hears before others. HE IS THE PROBLEM. He must analyze what he heard and figure out if it will push or pull the market, then take action.

    This also assumes there are others who will act as the public release is made, seconds behind them. The idea being the seconds matter. The idea isn’t to beat the cooler heads, it’s to beat the other micro timers.

    I don’t see it as a threat to our democracy.

  9. “this happened at the ECB several years ago and after such a warning someone should have been dispatched to make sure that it could not happen at the Old Lady. So we can add laziness to the incompetence.

    As ever the PR machine is in full flow and has opened its batting with an attempt to put the blame elsewhere.”

  10. @Tim Worstall

    Most “Live” are delayed by 5 – 10s to allow halt if something untoward occurs; BBC QT Live is +1 to +25 hours

    5 – 8 seconds is huge time in trading, firms pay millions for a 0.01 faster access. New UK-USA cable being an example.

    There is a good docu about it iirc BBC2/4

    @BraveFart

    Before it was turned off, analogue TV was ~3secs ahead of Cable, Freeview & Satellite

  11. When Premier league matches were screened on Amazon the other week, they were at least a minute behind, which I could tell from looking at Betfair. There are definitely people who have information quicker than Betfair, as you see a reaction in odds just before the market suspends due to a goal / wicket, etc.

  12. “5 – 8 seconds is huge time in trading, firms pay millions for a 0.01 faster access. New UK-USA cable being an example.”

    Color me skeptical.

  13. High Frequency Trading is basically front running other traders, your system sniffs out that there is a big trade in x going through and jumps in just ahead of it to buy slightly lower and then sell it on to the big trade. It is all at absolutely tiny percentages but on massive volume. Interestingly it was effectively being encouraged by the stock exchanges themselves in return for extra fees and became literally a matter of latency in the ‘pipes’ – the nearer you were physically to they exchange the quicker you got the price feed.
    This is completely different and contains a major assumption – that anything the BoE says will have any impact at all upon markets. Perhaps in the short term trading game between leveraged FX traders who focus on the second decimal place there was a perception that they could outfox one another, but in equity markets not a chance. In the real world, given over the period in question there was never any question or uncertainty over the Bank base rate – it has been 0.75% since August 2018 if anyone had forgotten – it is difficult to see how anyone could have made any money out of knowing that they weren’t going to change base rates two seconds earlier than anyone else.

  14. @Mark T

    it is difficult to see how anyone could have made any money out of knowing that they weren’t going to change base rates two seconds earlier than anyone else

    If market expectation was it would change and thus priced in, exchange rates would change when no change made.

    Remember Soros and ERM? Brown and Au (Gold)?

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