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Advances in technology have drastically changed how investors buy and sell securities. Driven largely by the increase in demand for the ability to execute high frequency trading (HFT) strategies, traditional securities exchanges are being displaced by alternative trading systems (ATS). These ATS offer investors several advantages, including improved execution and the ability to trade away from a public exchange using anonymous indications of interest. The rapid pace with which these systems are developing has presented regulators with a significant challenge—to try and create a workable regulatory regime to monitor trading in a highly fluid, increasingly complex environment. This is especially so given that the scale of trading on these ATS amounts at times to as much as 15 percent of all securities trades in the United States.

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