The scrutiny surrounding high frequency trading has forced Virtu into delaying its IPO.
The scrutiny surrounding high frequency trading has forced Virtu into delaying its IPO.Reuters

New York-based Virtu Financial, a high frequency trader that last month announced an initial public offering of shares, has decided to delay its Wall Street debut.

The deal was set to go ahead this week but has now been delayed until after 20 April amid intense scrutiny of the high frequency trading, and the release of Michael Lewis's book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.

Lewis' book criticises the use of high frequency trading, and even claims that Wall Street is rigged.

Virtu said in its IPO document that US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has questioned its "participation in certain incentive programs offered by exchanges or venues" from July 2011 to November 2013.

Virtu said it does not believe that it broke the law, but said it "cannot predict the outcome of the inquiry".

Chris Concannon, the president of Virtu, declined to comment on the IPO. His trading firm provides quotes in more than 10,000 securities and contracts on more than 210 venues in 30 countries, according to its IPO filing.

The news follows a story yesterday in which the FBI said it was investigating whether high-frequency trading firms break US laws by acting on private information to gain an edge over competitors.

"Trading ahead of other investors based on information about orders that other investors can't see could violate insider-trading laws," said an FBI spokesperson.