Order Flow Segmentation, Liquidity and Price Discovery: The Role of Latency Delays


Latency delays intentionally slow order execution at an exchange, often to protect market-makers against latency arbitrage. We study informed trading in a fragmented market in which one exchange introduces a latency delay on market orders. Liquidity improves at the delayed exchange, as informed investors emigrate to the conventional exchange, where liquidity worsens. In aggregate, implementing a latency delay worsens total expected welfare. We find that the impact on price discovery depends on the relative abundance of speculators. If the exchange with delay technology competes against a conventional exchange, it implements a delay only if it has sufficiently low market share.

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Michael Brolley
Associate Professor of Finance