Stevens Professor Takes to Airwaves to Explain SEC Policy

The news that the Securities and Exchange Commission is moving to help regulators handle the technology that has revolutionized trading is something the high-frequency trading community will see as a step in the right direction.

That’s the expectation of Dr. George Calhoun, director of the Quantitative Finance program at the Howe School of Technology Management and acting director of the Financial Systems Center at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Calhoun, appearing on Al Jazeera America’s “Real Money” program, said nothing in SEC Chairman Mary Jo White’s proposal represents a threat to the business model of high-frequency traders, and would be welcome from a regulatory body that is well behind the technological times.

Calhoun compared the SEC to Rip Van Winkle, saying “regulators kind of step in once every 20 years.” That means market guidance predates the technological revolution that’s changed everything about how business is done on Wall Street — a chief concern of the Quantitative Finance program and the Financial Systems Center.

But that doesn’t mean the SEC is going to roll back the clock, he told “Real Money” host Ali Velshi. Rather, he expects the agency to embrace the technology changes, especially since the market is in better health today than 20 years ago.

“I treat it as a very thoughtful, substantive orientation of this regulator to what’s going to be a complex issue,” Calhoun said.