When it comes to finances there’s a big difference between real-time data and day-old data. Unfortunately no one seems to have told this to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Last year SEC commissioners voted 3-2 to go ahead with a plan for a new computer system that would track all stock trading in the United States. The markets are now dominated by rapid-fire computerized trading so such a system is an absolute necessity, at least if you want to prevent things like 2010’s “flash crash.”
When the new system is up and running–that won’t take too long, right?–it will track orders, cancellations and executions of all U.S.-listed stocks and options on all markets. It will then deliver data to the SEC in a nice tidy standardized package by the next trading day. In other words: 1) See horse in barn; 2) see horse leave barn; and 3) go close gate.