Former lawyers for the Securities and Exchange Commission say that the agency does not have the ability to fully monitor high-frequency trading, and the recent changes in regulations and new proposals likely won't do much. "It's inconceivable that they can regulate [high-frequency trading]," said Ralph Ferrara, a former SEC general counsel. "There are too many [high-frequency trading] systems; they're all idiosyncratic; they're all different. The SEC is starved for cash, starved for talent. A small-sized hedge fund can outperform the SEC."

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