Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 851–874 | Cite as

Ethics, Finance, and Automation: A Preliminary Survey of Problems in High Frequency Trading

  • Michael DavisEmail author
  • Andrew Kumiega
  • Ben Van Vliet
Original Paper


All of finance is now automated, most notably high frequency trading. This paper examines the ethical implications of this fact. As automation is an interdisciplinary endeavor, we argue that the interfaces between the respective disciplines can lead to conflicting ethical perspectives; we also argue that existing disciplinary standards do not pay enough attention to the ethical problems automation generates. Conflicting perspectives undermine the protection those who rely on trading should have. Ethics in finance can be expanded to include organizational and industry-wide responsibilities to external market participants and society. As a starting point, quality management techniques can provide a foundation for a new cross-disciplinary ethical standard in the age of automation.


High-frequency trading Automation Ethics Quality management Engineering 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Illinois Institute of TechnologyCenter for the Study of Ethics in the ProfessionsChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoUSA

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