Latency, liquidity and price discovery


The speed of trading is an important factor in modern security markets, although relatively little is known about the effect of speed on liquidity and price discovery, two important aspects of market quality. On April 23, 2007, Deutsche Boerse made an important upgrade to their trading system. With the 8.0 release of Xetra, system latency was reduced from 50 ms to 10 ms. Subsequently, both quoted and effective spreads decreased, which are mainly concentrated in small- and medium-sized stocks. This increase in liquidity is due to dramatically lower adverse selection costs that were only partially translated into higher liquidity. We interpret this as a decrease in the competition between liquidity suppliers who are able to increase their revenues by more than 90 million euros. The contribution of quotes to price discovery doubles to 90% post upgrade, indicating that prices are more efficient.

Journal of Financial Markets, (15), 4, pp. 416-437,