The buzz around Michael Lewis’s new book, “Flash Boys,” and his appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes Sunday night (below) was palpable. While high-frequency trading has been a hot topic among capital markets professionals for half a decade, and though it has often drawn public scrutiny since the global financial crisis, the mass appeal of Lewis’s books has the potential to turn the market structure debate into a very public trial of Wall Street in general.
As anticipated, the Twitterverse was afire with comments both in support of and assailing Lewis and HFT during and immediately following his interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft. And it wasn’t just market structure experts weighing in; average investors already seem to have taken up Lewis’s anti-HFT rallying cry. But regardless of whether you think HFT is a manipulative behavior that should be banned or a necessary function of efficient markets, the hype generated by “Flash Boys” already has revealed some important themes in the controversy.