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Part of how high frequency trading works, is by taking advantage of millisecond advantages over other traders in communicating with the stock exchange.

To gain these advantages, high frequency traders have moved their servers closer to the stock exchange's server, or have rebuilt a a Chicago - New York IP cable to be straighter and thus reduce latency by milliseconds.

To create a 'fair playing field', traders can put all their servers in the same building, and each be given the same length of cabling.

HFT has been criticised essential for giving the high frequency traders an unfair advantage.

My question is - why not just make the stock exchange work on a one second 'tick'. ie. during that second trades are queued up, and on the tick, they are all executed simultaniously.

This would prevent any - 'see other people's trades and buy them before they do' type trades.

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There is nothing wrong with your idea. Some people may say that it would reduce liquidity - but there is way more than enough liquidity in the system already. HFT is just parasitical - it serves no useful purpose.

A small transaction tax would have a similar effect.

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