China Regulator Probes Dutch Firm IMC on Futures Trading

(This article originally appeared on Reuters)

Dutch high-speed trading firm IMC said on Thursday that China’s securities regulator is investigating its trading activity in the Chinese futures market.

IMC, one of the world’s largest financial market makers, said in an emailed statement it had received enquiries from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) in relation to futures trading undertaken by IMC’s Shanghai-based affiliate. IMC said discussions with the CSRC had been constructive and positive.

“In response to the enquiries, IMC has cooperated fully, providing all relevant information as well as providing personnel to explain IMC’s trading strategies,” said IMC, which provides liquidity to exchanges across the globe, including bourses in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, Australia and China.

“IMC has confirmed with external counsel that its futures trading activity in China complied with all applicable regulations and exchange rules,” the statement said.

The CSRC was not immediately available for comment. The investigation was first reported by Bloomberg.

The move follows a broader crackdown by Chinese authorities on automated trading following last year’s stock market rout which saw mainland shares fall 30 percent.

In a bid to calm volatility and curb speculation, the CSRC and local exchanges unleashed a volley of measures including adding a “circuit breaker” to the benchmark CSI300 index future, raising margins and fees, and restricting daily open positions, leading the index futures market to all but collapse.

Beijing also turned its focus on automated trading strategies, suspecting some hedge funds of deliberately or accidentally distorting pricing in search of quick profits.

The regulators also opened investigations into a number of trading firms and froze dozens of trading accounts, including an account belonging to the Shanghai affiliate of Citadel Securities, another major foreign high speed trading firm.

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