On April 15, 2016, the FCA published an Occasional Paper which assesses whether high frequency traders, on a systematic basis, foresee when trading orders are going to arrive at different trading venues and trade in advance of other traders by using their speed to their advantage. The FCA used a novel dataset with full order-book data on 120 stocks traded on lit venues in the UK in 2013. The results show that HFTs cannot systematically trade ahead of other market participants at a millisecond frequency but that HFTs are able to anticipate order flow over longer time periods (seconds and tens of seconds). However, it is uncertain whether HFTs are able to react quicker to new information due to their lower latency, or are able to better anticipate order flow (because, for example, other market participants are predictable when placing orders).
The occasional paper is available at: http://www.fca.org.uk/static/documents/occasional-papers/occasional-paper- 16.pdf.