Transparency (market)

In economics, a market is transparent if much is known by many about: What products and services or capital assets are available, market depth (quantity available), what price, and where. Transparency is important since it is one of the theoretical conditions required for a free market to be efficient. Price transparency can, however, lead to higher prices. For example, if it makes sellers reluctant to give steep discounts to certain buyers (e.g. disrupting price dispersion among buyers), or if it facilitates collusion, and price volatility is another concern.[1] A high degree of market transparency can result in disintermediation due to the buyer's increased knowledge of supply pricing.

There are two types of price transparency: 1) I know what price will be charged to me, and 2) I know what price will be charged to you. The two types of price transparency have different implications for differential pricing.[2] A transparent market should also provide necessary information about quality and other product features,[3] although quality can be exceedingly difficult to estimate for some goods, such as artworks.[4]

While the stock market is relatively transparent, hedge funds are notoriously secretive. Researchers in this area have found concerns by hedge funds about the crowding out of their trades through transparency and undesirable effects of incomplete transparency.[5] Some financial professionals, including Wall Street veteran Jeremy Frommer are pioneering the application of transparency to hedge funds by broadcasting live from trading desks and posting detailed portfolios online.[citation needed]

Critical transparencyEdit

There is a rich literature in accounting that takes a critical perspective to market transparency, focusing on the nuances and boundaries.[6][7] For example, some researchers question its utility (e.g. Etzioni[8]). This also connects to the performativity of quantitative models[9] or "reacitivity."[10] Specific cases include transparency in the art market.[11] There are also studies from finance that note concerns with market transparency, such as perverse effects including decreased market liquidity and increased price volatility.[1] This is one motivation for markets that are selectively transparent, such as "dark pools".[12]

Dynamics of transparency may also differ between investment markets, cambist markets where goods trade without being used up,[13][14] and other types of markets, e.g. goods and services.

In fair value accounting (FVA), transparency may be complicated by the fact that level 2 and 3 assets cannot strictly be marked-to-market, given that no direct market exists, creating questions about what transparency means for these assets. Level 2 assets may be marked-to-model, a topic of interest in the social studies of finance,[15][9] while Level 3 assets may require inputs including management expectations or assumptions.

In the Forex marketEdit

There are few markets that require the level of privacy, honesty, and trust between its participants as the Forex (FX) market.[16] This creates great obstacles for traders, investors, and institutions to overcome as there is a lack of transparency, leading to the need to develop trust with trading partners and developing these relationships through social means, such as "gifts of information," which is even seen on the trading floors of global investment banks that service institutional investors.[13]

With little to no transparency, trader's ability to verify transactions becomes virtually impossible, at least if one does not have faith that the market exchange is operating in a well-run fashion, a problem that is unlikely with the major brokerage services open to institutional investors (e.g. Reuters, Bloomberg, and Telerate). In a situation with a problematic market exchange lacking transparency, there would be no trust between the client and the broker, yet surprisingly, there is nonetheless demand to trade in dark pools.[12]

This has also become an area of financial innovation. Companies such as Fair Trading Technology[17] and their T3 Integration Bridge seek to allow traders to trade with transparency and the ability to verify that each trade makes it to the market. (The company uses the bridge to connect traders to the world's largest ECN, Dukascopy Bank SA,[18] by using MetaTrader 4 platform.)

Forex markets are now also a target for new blockchain innovations, which would allow trading outside of centralized exchanges or change the way these exchanges operate.[19][20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Madhavan, Ananth; Porter, David; Weaver, Daniel (2005-08-01). "Should securities markets be transparent?". Journal of Financial Markets. 8 (3): 265–287. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.finmar.2005.05.001.
  2. ^ Kyle, Margaret K.; Ridley, David B. (1 September 2007). "Would Greater Transparency And Uniformity Of Health Care Prices Benefit Poor Patients?". Health Affairs. 26 (5): 1384–1391. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.26.5.1384. PMID 17848449.
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Finance and Banking - Oxford Reference". Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  4. ^ Yogev, Tamar (2010-07-01). "The social construction of quality: status dynamics in the market for contemporary art". Socio-Economic Review. 8 (3): 511–536. doi:10.1093/ser/mwp030. ISSN 1475-1461.
  5. ^ Felix Goltz; Schröder, David (2010-04-01). "Hedge Fund Transparency: Where Do We Stand?". The Journal of Alternative Investments. 12 (4): 20–35. doi:10.3905/jai.2010.12.4.020.
  6. ^ Strathern, Marilyn (2000-06-01). "The Tyranny of Transparency". British Educational Research Journal. 26 (3): 309–321. doi:10.1080/713651562. ISSN 1469-3518.
  7. ^ Best, Jacqueline (2005-02-10). The Limits of Transparency: Ambiguity and the History of International Finance. Cornell Studies in Money. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801473777.
  8. ^ Etzioni, Amitai (2010-12-01). "Is Transparency the Best Disinfectant?". Journal of Political Philosophy. 18 (4): 389–404. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9760.2010.00366.x. ISSN 1467-9760.
  9. ^ a b MacKenzie, Donald; Millo, Yuval (2003-07-01). "Constructing a Market, Performing Theory: The Historical Sociology of a Financial Derivatives Exchange". American Journal of Sociology. 109 (1): 107–145. CiteSeerX doi:10.1086/374404. ISSN 0002-9602.
  10. ^ McGivern, Gerry; Fischer, Michael D. (2012-02-01). "Reactivity and reactions to regulatory transparency in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling" (PDF). Social Science & Medicine. Part Special Issue: Organization studies and the analysis of health systems. 74 (3): 289–296. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.09.035. PMID 22104085.
  11. ^ Coslor, Erica (2016-04-01). "Transparency in an opaque market: Evaluative frictions between "thick" valuation and "thin" price data in the art market". Accounting, Organizations and Society. 50: 13–26. doi:10.1016/j.aos.2016.03.001. hdl:11343/113919.
  12. ^ a b Pitluck, Aaron Z. (2011-02-01). "Distributed execution in illiquid times: an alternative explanation of trading in stock markets". Economy and Society. 40 (1): 26–55. doi:10.1080/03085147.2011.529333. ISSN 0308-5147.
  13. ^ a b Knorr Cetina, Karin; Bruegger, Urs (2002-01-01). "Global Microstructures: The Virtual Societies of Financial Markets". American Journal of Sociology. 107 (4): 905–950. CiteSeerX doi:10.1086/341045. ISSN 0002-9602.
  14. ^ Cetina, Karin Knorr; Bruegger, Urs (2002-12-01). "Traders' Engagement with Markets". Theory, Culture & Society. 19 (5–6): 161–185. doi:10.1177/026327602761899200. ISSN 0263-2764.
  15. ^ MacKenzie, Donald; Spears, Taylor (2014-02-06). "'The formula that killed Wall Street': The Gaussian copula and modelling practices in investment banking" (PDF). Social Studies of Science. 44 (3): 393–417. doi:10.1177/0306312713517157. hdl:20.500.11820/3095760a-6d7c-4829-b327-98c9c28c1db6. PMID 25051588.
  16. ^ "Forex Glossary, Forex Terminology, Forex Trading Dictionary".
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Home :: Dukascopy Bank SA - Swiss Forex Bank - ECN Broker - Managed accounts - Swiss FX trading platform".
  19. ^ "Understanding How Blockchain Works and Why it Will Transform FX | Finance Magnates". Finance Magnates | Financial and business news. 2016-12-30. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  20. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Cite uses generic title (help)