Thomson Reuters ex employee claims leaks to ultra-low-latency subscribers

Lawsuit brought by former TRI employee claims insider survey leaks.

An interesting lawsuit brought against Thomson Reuters by former employee Mark Rosenblum claims that the bimonthly Thomson Reuters / University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers had a “tiered” release, giving certain “ultra-low-latency” subscribers to the survey a brief trading advantage, based on receiving the information earlier. 

Rosenblum’s suit claims that at two seconds before 9:55 a.m. the survey goes to ultra-low-latency subscribers; “desktop” subscribers get it at 9:55 a.m.; and at 10 a.m. it goes out to the general public. And by releasing it to ultra-low-latency subscribers two seconds early, those subscribers have a two-second head start to make transactions.

A Thomson Reuters spokesperson denied the allegations, stating that they believe “the accusations from the complaint against Thomson Reuters to be unsubstantiated and without merit.”

The lawsuit brings up again the issue of advantage (or at least perceived advantage) in the trading markets — including FX — which high-frequency traders, machine-readable-news traders, and ultra-low-latency traders have. The Internet Age has certainly evened the playing field somewhat for average “retail” traders, giving them access to real-time tools and information which only larger institutional firms had before. But the differences remain. We’ve reported that even big banks were unhappy with certain perceived advantages that high-frequency traders had on certain Forex ECNs, leading to changes made by ECNs such as ICAP to placate their important big-bank customers.

Some good reporting on the lawsuit can be found at Bloomberg (a Thomson Reuters rival), and the Financial Times.

Stay tuned to LeapRate as this story develops…

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