NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Is high-frequency trading, or HFT, destroying the bedrock of equity investing? According to Charles Schwab, yes, and Jim Cramer agrees, he told TheStreet's Debra Borchardt on Thursday.
Schwab, the founder of brokerage firm Charles Schwab (SCHW), wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal complaining about the destructive presence of high-frequency trading.
"This shocked me," Cramer said, because no one in the industry has said anything regarding this subject. There hasn't been a credible voice speaking out for the individual investor since Richard Grasso, the former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Cramer said.
Along with high-frequency trading, another thing Cramer dislikes is "legal insider trading," where firms such as Goldman Sachs (GS) are able to get a peek at trades before others.Along similar lines is the early news release for specific clients, who are allowed to see certain data points and make corresponding trades based on the results before most investors even have access to the numbers. "High-frequency traders are very, very powerful," Cramer added. "Plus, they're very good at saying they're forces of good" for the market. On top of that, the stock exchanges have said they would essentially be out of business at this point without HFT, since the retail investor is making up a smaller and smaller amount of the volume. Cramer concluded that individual investors are a dying breed and that's not going to change unless the Securities and Exchange Commission begins to reverse course. The agency has been all about innovation and technology because no one was speaking out against it. Perhaps now Schwab's letter will get the ball rolling, Cramer said. -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. Follow @BretKenwell