Trading on the financial markets is no longer dominated by humans, but by computers that allow superfast trading, based on cutting-edge math rules that determine the optimum trading strategy: the algorithms, or 'algos' for short. The result of this digital revolution on Wall Street is a complex and fragmented financial system that no one seems to understand or oversee these days.
A system to which we are all connected: directly if you try your luck with some Apple shares every now and again, or indirectly because your pension fund or mutual fund invests through these markets. The only people that have any understanding of this interplay between man, computer and market are its architects: the builders of the algorithms.
Haim Bodek is among this select, and often silent, company. Bodek, a specialist in artificial intelligence, made a name for himself as a genius algorithm builder with trading legend Blair Hull and with financial superpowers like Goldman Sachs. His nickname: the 'algo arms dealer'.
In 2007 Bodek set up his own high-frequency trading business. He built what he felt was a perfect and always profitable algorithm. An algo that traded at the speed of light. But, overnight, it stopped performing. The profits evaporated into thin air. Provoked, he tries to find the cause.
In The Wall Street Code Haim Bodek gives a unique insight in the plumbing of our computerized markets. These markets used to be places where investors and businesses came together, but they have now turned into an unfathomable system of data centres where execution speed and the quality of the algorithms have become all-determining. Private and institutional investors - such as pension funds - always seem to be one step behind.
Bodek decides not to keep his findings to himself and starts a personal crusade against a rigged system. A step that goes directly against the unwritten Wall Street code of reticence and secrecy.
A film by director Marije Meerman and researcher Gerko Wessel, with breathtaking animations of the computerized markets by Bitcaves and Motoko design studios.
Featuring: algorithm builder Haim Bodek; former high-frequency trader Dave Lauer; data analyst Eric Hunsader; journalist Scott Patterson of the Wall Street Journal; trader Peter Zhang; “Battle of the Quants” organizer Bartt C. Kellermann; and trading legends Blair Hull and Thomas Peterffy.