It takes 150 milli-seconds to blink and one milli-second for HFT’s to trade !

A recent report from the Bank of International Settlements on High-frequency trading contains the following nugget on Page 4…

One of the defining characteristics that set HFT players apart from other algo decision-makers is the high speed with which they detect and act on profitable trading opportunities in the marketplace. Since speed is of the essence, there has been a trend to co-location, ie trading firms moving their servers as close as possible to the trading venue. At the time of writing, market contacts suggest that some HFT participants in FX can operate with latency of less than one millisecond, compared with 10–30 milliseconds for most upper-tier non-HFT participants (for comparison, it is said to take around 150 milliseconds for a human being to blink).

The full report is here.