Algo Trading in India – Statistically Speaking !!!


Algorithmic trading is all the rage in India right now, and across the market the view is unanimous: the only way is up. The question is how just fast it will grow.

By the start of 2012, Algo accounted for some 24 percent of cash equities turnover in India and about 30 percent of equity derivatives. According to figures from the Bombay Stock Exchange, by far the smaller of the two Indian exchanges that dominate equities trading, the share for equity derivatives has already jumped to 45 percent since then.

Algorithms and High frequency trading are the hottest topics in the market – algorithmic trading and HFT itself, and now the regulations around it. This is what the majority of players in the market are focused on today.

India has the building blocks in place for a ramp-up. Co-location has been available from both the Bombay Stock Exchange and its bigger competitor, the National Stock Exchange, for 18 months. Both exchanges, and market observers, say their trading platforms can handle HFT. Direct market access is available. Smart order routing between the two exchanges has also been operating since August 2010.

The Indian regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), produced guidelines for algorithmic trading in March which brokers, exchanges and market watchers hail as a sensible response. The new rules, they say, recognise that algorithmic trading is a natural development and are aimed at preventing problems but not blocking growth.

“All the dynamics point to an increase in automated and algo trading in the next few years,” Expect the cash equities and derivatives levels to raise around 50-55 percent within the next year or so.

High Frequency Trading or HFT !!!

Algorithmic Trading

High Frequency Trading or HFT is a form of automated trading which cashes in on fleeting market opportunities through a deluge of orders executed in fractions of a second. Positions may be held only for minutes, the ‘portfolio’ is churned furiously and no position is carried overnight!

Given that they are chasing minuscule gains from high volumes, high-speed traders gain by shortening their execution time to a few milli-seconds.

Stock exchanges around the world (and in India too) have actively aided and abetted HFT by allowing market players to rent ‘co-location’ facilities at the exchange itself.

With their terminals huddled close to the exchange’s servers, co-located members — through fibre optic connectivity — execute trades at a fraction of the time that others do.