We use the introduction and subsequent removal of the flash-order functionality from NASDAQ as a natural experiment to investigate the impact of voluntary disclosure of trading intent on market quality.
We find that flash orders significantly improve liquidity in NASDAQ. Furthermore, overall market quality improves (deteriorates) when flash functionality is introduced (removed). This result can be attributed to increased competition among liquidity suppliers across competing trading venues. Alternatively, flash orders attract responses from reactive traders immediately after the announcement, attracting more “hidden liquidity” and lowering risk-bearing costs for the overall market.