PR Newswire Promises Not to Give Stock Traders Early Access to Press Releases

shutterstock_141025099

Of course I use Uber.

We know how tired you must be of reading variations on the question “do press releases even matter anymore?”

In the world of high-frequency stock trading, the answer is “oh hell yes they do”–and according to parties like New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, basic releases can be worth millions of dollars to cut-throat traders who receive them literally milliseconds before the general public and make lightning-fast buy/sell decisions based on the information contained within.

Today PR Newswire officially joined its two primary competitors, Business Wire and Marketwired, in agreeing to curtail that practice.

What does this mean?

The basic idea is that everyone should get the releases at the same time, because any unfair advantage (even if it amounts to less than one second) could allow for insider trading.

The company reportedly received several offers from such firms in the past and turned them down, so this arrangement really just sets that policy in stone. In order to make sure everything stays fair, PR Newswire will require all parties who use its feed to agree not to engage in high-frequency trading (though details regarding the enforcement of that agreement do not appear in any related reports).

Also:

“…the firm promised to encourage customers to release news intended for the close of the markets at 4:01 p.m. New York time instead of 4 p.m. to make sure high-frequency traders can’t use it in the milliseconds after the closing bell.”

We didn’t need Leonardo DiCaprio to tell us that “Wall Street” is a well-oiled and often unscrupulous machine.

But in a perverse sort of way, it’s nice to know how valuable press releases can be to some people, isn’t it?