http://www.neurosoftware.ro/finance/tag/mr-larsen/ http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f9d1a74a-d6f3-11df-aaab-00144feabdc0.html Guest Post: In Defense Of A Robot Sep 30th Posted by Insurance in stock market Submitted by Frode Haukens of EconoTwist In Defense Of A Robot This must be one of the weirdest lawsuits we have seen in long time: Starting this week, the two Norwegian day traders who are charged with fraud and violation against an automatic trading robot will appear in Oslo District Court to defend their actions. However, the poor robot, being called a stupid, cheating liar, have the best representatives any offended robot can have; a hard hitting police attorney, backed by an army of experts from the Oslo Stock Exchange. The robotâs owner, Timber Hill, has not been seen, nor heard from since the news story broke in August this year. âEither the robot is very, very stupid, or is the person who programmed the robot is very, very stupid.â Sven-Egil Larsen The case against the two traders in the so-called ârobot-case,â where alleged manipulation of a the stock market trading machine is essential, started Monday. The Norwegian police believe that the day traders, Sven-Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby, has conducted a number of unlawful acts against the brokerage firm Timber Hill and its stock trading robot, and have charged them on grounds of market manipulation. * âThis case should never have come up before the court. It is the Oslo Stock Exchange who has initiated proceedings against the accused and the court will lead the crusade. None of the authorities that have looked at the case, neither the Financial Authority or the police, seems to be able to look at the case with competent and critical eyes. For this reason, we now have a case that hardly anyone in the market can understand,â says Mr. Larsenâs lawyer, Halldor Christen Tjoflaat, according to the website Stocklink.no. * âTimber Hill appeared in 2008 as a poor investor in selected papers and on selected days. Rather than do something about the obviously poor investor who moved prices randomly when only there was a small trade in a paper they were active in, the Oslo Stock Exchange have turned against them who has a different trading strategy than Timber Hill and made money off it,â he adds. The two Norwegians are accused of price manipulation of shares listed at the Oslo Stock Exchange, during the period November 2007 to March 2008. Oslo Stock Exchange is in a strategic alliance with London Stock Exchange where Timber Hill is a member. * Price Manipulation According to the charges, the day traders placed over 2,200 orders, and managed to give the market a false picture of supply and demand. Christian Stenberg * âWe believe the two are guilty of a numerous cases of price manipulation. They have added buy and sell orders that was not real, they have had another motive; namely to move the price,â prosecutor Chris Stenberg of the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Ãkokrim) told the newspaper Dagens NÃ¦ringsliv, when the lawsuit was filed. âItâs not about fooling anyone, but to be smarter than someone,â one of the traders says. Sven-Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby was among the most active equity traders on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2007 and 2008. According to the allegations, they have manged to make a pre-programmed trading robot at the brokerage firm Timber Hill to offer better prices than it should do. * Stupid Robot Both Mr. Larsen and Mr. Veiby deny any accusations of any wrongdoings, and believe that they only found a weakness in a system. They emphasize that non other than the electronic player has been harmed. * They admit, however, that they have exploited this weakness, but denies the accusation of manipulating the market. Larsen believes that either the robot is very, very stupid, âor is the person who programmed the robot is very, very stupid,â he says. Larsen was the one that first found the weakness in the Timber Hill system when he was doing arbitrage trading in low liquidity stocks at OSE.Peder Veiby was long in Hafslund and had followed the stock over a longer period. This made Mr. Veiby able to form a picture of automated systems trade patterns over time and found that Timber Hill had its special way of behavior. He observed how the Timber Hill system changed the level of price and orders, and decided to try to make money on this behavior. It all began in November 2007 and lasted until March 2008. Mr. Veiby considers it likely that he would have made money on the deals. Both traders purchased a large chunk of stocks at a specific price, followed by series of smaller purchases at a higher price. All within a short periode of time. The Timber Hill robot reacted by raising the price on the shares, and Larsen and Veiby did what every skilled trader would do; they dumped their holdings and secured the profit. They also did the same exercise by shorting shares, but then making the profit by selling to the ever lower price. According to the two traders statement in court, it was not every time the strategy succeed. Occasionally, the robot did not react as they had anticipated, usually caused by other players preventing the trade pattern to repeat itself, they explained in court. 200 Trades A Day In their statement they also says that they was surprised every time it was possible to get the robot to repeat the same pattern. Sven-Egil Larsen Veiby is charged with 42 cases of violations of the Securities Actâs, while Larsen is charged with 30, involving a total of 2.200 transactions.Larsen estimates that during 2008, he made about 20.000 trades, which indicates between 100 and 150 trades per day, on average. Veiby estimates that he performed about 60 to 70 trades per day during the period. Asked by the judge, Larsen and Veiby said that they did not knew each other before this case, and that they had not been cooperating. On the contrary, they had by several occasions destroyed each otherâs plans. Quote Stuffing Police attorney Christian Stenberg will only make general comments, and not go into details. He believes the two defendants placed orders with the purpose of moving the price, and since the market relates to the quotes provided by the exchange (the robot) it would be a form of manipulation. The District Court in Oslo has to the decide on the rather interesting question whether this is illegal, or not. âThe question is whether the orders that was entered is legitimate. Thatâs for the court to decide,â the police attorney says. No Sign Of The Robot Owner During questioning, the police was interested to know what would be a ânatural behavior,â and what perception the two traders had of the Timber Hill trading platform. However, the public prosecutor did not offer any explanation as to why representatives of the Timber Hill was not summoned as a witness. Peder Veibyâs lawyer, Anders Brosveet, said in his procedure that it was not the two defendants who moved prices, and claimed it was Timber Hill since they deleted their own orders and then raised the price. The problem is that the brokerage firmâs robot was so poorly programmed that it failed to pick up signals that any rational market participant would do, he argued. We might expect a ruling by the court at the end of the week.