July 2, 2012 / 5:06 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Speed trader Getco shuffles Europe chiefs

By Luke Jeffs

LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Electronic trader GETCO has moved its European head Jon Ross back to the United States and appointed Asian chief Robert Smith to run Europe as the trading shop faces draconian European reforms that could hurt its business.

GETCO, one of the largest traders of blue chip European stocks, said in an emailed statement on Monday that Ross has been promoted to chief technology officer, based in Chicago, a role he previously held at GETCO rival Nasdaq OMX.

Smith has become the head of the trader’s European business in London while he is replaced in Singapore by Farid Moslehi, until recently Getco’s chief risk officer.

GETCO’s former CTO Michael Rauchman left the firm last month, a source close to the firm told Reuters.

“Jon’s combination of trading, exchange and client services experiences make him uniquely well-suited to lead GETCO’s global technology initiatives moving forward,” said GETCO chief executive Daniel Coleman.

The management changes come as GETCO and its rival electronic market-makers face tough regulation from the European Commission that could, if implemented, force them to trade differently.

GETCO and its peers use cutting edge technology to produce millions of orders in tiny fractions of a second, generating much-needed revenue for the exchanges that handle these trades.

But European policymakers are keen to impose restrictions on these trading firms that could limit their trading methods and, ultimately, their profitability.

Politicians have proposed fines on traders who produce excessive numbers of orders and a requirement that all orders should be forced to stay in the market for half a second before they can be cancelled.

The world’s fastest exchanges trade in less than 100 microseconds, or one ten thousandth of a second, so a resting time of 500 milliseconds would mean these trades are being slowed down by a factor of 5,000.

“A key issue for high frequency traders is whether provisions for minimum resting times will be included in the MiFID II rules. It’s not yet clear where this debate will end up,” said Richard Perrott, an analyst at Berenberg Bank.

The European Commission is proposing clampdowns on speed traders as part of a broader review of its 2007 Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.

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