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Gary DeWaal Quoted on Spoofing Regulations and Enforcement

Firm News | March 29, 2017

Financial Services special counsel Gary DeWaal was quoted by Risk.net on "spoofing" issues in high-frequency trading. Gary stated, "The regulators are taking a more and more expansive view of what constitutes problematic conduct." As more firms use high-frequency trading in commodities markets, they need to be aware that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) can make the case for a violation based on a single transaction. He added, "The law is pretty clear in what it prohibits in the area of spoofing: any single matter, any transaction. It's not considered to be a series of transactions and I think that's a big issue. So if you place any one order with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution, then within the four corners of the statute, that is spoofing. The other thing that surprises people, and yet the CFTC indicates they don't really care in their guidance, is that even if you intend for the order to be cancelled, the fact it's executed doesn't prove you in fact entered it with a bona fide intent."

Expounding on the notion of intent, Gary stated, "In the two most famous cases [of spoofing], there was documentary evidence of intent. There were instructions given to programmers; there was evidence. But in most cases there's going to be circumstantial evidence. Even though the offense can relate to as little as one transaction, in fact it's going to be based on a pattern of behavior over time." ("Commodity Firms Aim to Tighten Up on Spoofing," March 29, 2017)