Reuters reports 38% of all U.S. trades are sponsored naked access.
So what the hell is naked access? Naked Access allows traders to see what is happening on the exchanges themselves. This gives them a 30 millisecond window (yes trading is performed by sophisticated computer algorithms in the microseconds), to view trades before being executed. Thus, those with the technology, such as Goldman Sachs can execute high frequency and fast trades.....before the rest of investors see the various stock exchange orders.
Naked access gives trading firms, using brokers' licenses, unfetted access to stock markets. The firms, usually high-frequency traders, are then able to shave microseconds from the time it takes to trade.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Sponsored access is akin to members of an exclusive club charging others to use their pass. The members in this case are registered brokerage firms that are approved and pay to trade on exchanges. High-frequency firms or other traders such as hedge funds cut deals with these regulated brokerage firms that let them use their computer access codes -- known as a "market participant ID" -- to trade directly on exchange computers that match buy and sell orders.
Naked access was just 9% of all U.S. trades in 2005 and Europe bans naked access.
What a very nice rigged game. Even if you can write your own software application, dream on in getting access at the same time as some of these hedge funds and large investment houses (Goldman Sachs).