Michael Lewis has responded to comments from Bats President by calling him an “embarrassing human being”.
Michael Lewis has responded to comments from Bats President by calling him an “embarrassing human being”.Reuters

Michael Lewis, the author of Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, has slammed the president of exchange operator Bats Global Markets, Bill O'Brien, after he criticised the writer over his new book.

O'Brien said in an interview with CNBC recently that Michael Lewis and Brad Katsuyama, who is portrayed as a hero in the book with his work as CEO of IEX, an alternative stock exchange, should be ashamed.

"You don't understand that the market has always had intermediaries," O'Brien said.

However, Lewis said that high-frequency traders aren't totally to blame. Lewis said: "I think of the high-frequency traders as just basically exploiting a system that's got these glitches in it. [High frequency traders have] found loopholes to jump through. You know, it's sort of like, I don't know, blaming the lion for eating the antelope."

Lewis continued by hitting back at O'Brien's comments, calling him an "embarrassing human being" in an interview with Bloomberg.

"I was embarrassed for him. I mean I just thought the person was an embarrassing human being," said Lewis.

"His behaviour sort of mimicked high-frequency trading, but in conversation -- front-running everything everybody else said. I mean, he wouldn't let anybody finish a sentence. It was astounding to me that someone like that actually runs a company. I just didn't know what to say about it."

Lewis feels that new regulations need to be welcomed in order to create a fairer playing field.

Currently, Lewis feels that investors are restricted in their means of getting information. He feels that anything that increased the transparency to investors of what was happening to their stock-market orders and gave them more control would be a positive step for Wall Street.

Lewis has caused a bit of a stir with the release of his new book which is a look into the controversial world of High Frequency Trading – but says he feels no shame.

Lewis said that he was surprised with the amount of coverage the book is getting considering that it is not a new problem. "You go on websites and find people talking about this five or six years ago," Lewis told Bloomberg's Manuela Hoelterhoff.

In his latest book, Lewis argues that Wall Street is rigged and that a few companies are dominating the market in order to make a super-fast profit.