Ever since Michael Lewis wrote his book “Flash Boys” everybody on Wall street has been on the offensive. This is because his book highlights another way smart people have figured out to turn the computer into an ATM.
People are concerned about front running. This is when you place an order to buy a stock but before it gets filled smart people with fast computers buy and sell the stock back to you at a higher price. This is a level of skimming that would even impress the mob.
Wall street argues computers have improved everything. Back in the day the price you got was horrible. Now, you can look forward to just getting screwed.
The straight dope: If you want to buy stocks, this is the system we got. Sure not everything is transparent, but at least we live in a place where things like this can be exposed. I’m going to still buy stocks, but at least I know where some of my money is going now.