Q: How do you feel about the robo-traders who have come to dominate stock trading?
A: They add nothing to the marketplace. They are scalpers. In times of crisis they suck out liquidity. They would argue they add liquidity. I don't think so.
Q: What should be done?
A: If I was czar, you would have the real marketplace here and let them go there and play in their dark pools like it's a video game or a lottery. There is no leadership in the SEC to do that. There is no leadership in government to do that. So consequently we have these unbridled frontiers.
Q: What impact is it having on your customers?
A: The average customer is not happy about it. It reduces confidence. Even though the market is at new highs, trading (by individual investors) is generally down. If it results in more long-term investing, that might be a good outcome.
Q: Is the Fed's zero interest rate policy doing more harm than good?
A: It's a disaster. I was in Florida talking to a bunch of retired people. They counted on having their savings accounts and CDs supplement their Social Security.
Q: The Fed's policy is hurting parts of your business, but to the extent it's raising stock prices, is that helping?
A: We have benefited from higher stock market prices and higher management fees.
Q: So on balance has it helped or hurt more?
A: We are more hurt by the manipulation of what's going on at the Fed. There's manipulation in oil prices, in milk prices, in monetary prices. We are highly dependent on the free-market system. But we are getting into a funny situation by having every little thing manipulated by government. Eventually it becomes something closer to socialism.