Algos are manipulating the VIX according to a whistleblower complaint
Algos are manipulating the VIX according to a whistleblower complaint filed with the SEC and CBoE, according to a Bloomberg report filed late yesterday. The letter filed by the lawyer for the unnamed whistleblower claims that derivative VIX equity volatility index can be targeted and moved by posting quotes on options on the underlying S&P 500 without needing to actually trade them or deploy capital. This has reportedly cost investors $100's of millions/month in profits and may have contributed to the flat-line on the VIX followed by its surge to 50.3 last week, according to the report. The CBoE denied the validity of the manipulation charge, citing factual errors and fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between the VIX index, VIX futures and volatility. The search for a scapegoat will no doubt continue after the VIX surge last week contributed to the 10-11% correction on underlying stocks, along with the demise of the XIV inverse VIX short-volatility index.