The Cold War in high frequency trading turns hot

Discussion in 'Automated Trading' started by ASusilovic, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. The Cold War in high-frequency trading seems to have escalated overnight.

    July 9 (Bloomberg) — Citadel Investment Group LLC, the $12 billion hedge fund firm founded by Ken Griffin, sued three former executives and the firm they started, Teza Technologies LLC, over claims they violated non-competition agreements.

    “This is a case of industrial espionage,” Citadel said in a complaint filed today in Illinois state court in Chicago. The firm seeks a court order barring the individual defendants from conducting any business through Teza or related entities that compete with Citadel, for the duration of the agreements. …

    That’s the Teza LLC where Sergei Aleynikov was due to start work — right before he was arrested for allegedly stealing 32MB of Goldman’s proprietary HFT code — a fact seemingly not lost on Citadel’s lawyers. They’re claiming that Aleynikov was due to receive a salary of $1.2m a year from Teza, and that the programmer’s alleged theft increases the possibility that Teza could be planning to steal Citadel’s own proprietary info. From Bloomberg again:

    “Defendants’ activities, particularly Teza’s decision to hire Aleynikov, an accused software thief, create a substantial risk that they have stolen, or may be planning to steal, Citadel’s proprietary code,” the fund manager said in its complaint.

    “It had nothing to do with us,” [Teza Attorney Chris] Gair said of the Aleynikov case. He also said he had “no idea” whether the salary figure cited by Citadel was accurate.

    Chicago-based Teza, named after a river in western Russia, was co-founded by Misha Malyshev, Citadel’s former HFT head. Citadel is one of the top-players in HFT, claiming to account for up to 10 per cent of global equity volumes in a single day, according to a presentation on the technique made by the fund.

    For their part, the Teza execs say they didn’t violate any non-compete agreements and are as yet a “formative” firm that haven’t begun trading or investing.