InTrade —- US.GOVT.HEALTHPLAN.DEC09
One InTrade trader, in October 2009:
The four re-definitions that have (so far) been necessary during the 3-month life of the US.GOVT.HEALTHPLAN.DEC09 contracts have brought to my attention that Intrade, to the best of my knowledge, does nothing to notify members that contracts they own have been “-clarified”-. It may be coincidence that volume on this contract spiked upward on July 29, Septeber 5 &- 10, and October 9 following rule changes on July 28, September 4 &- 9 and October 9. I suspect, however, that some members were aware of the rule changes while others with open orders found out about them later. While avoiding such ambiguous contracts would be preferable, some system should be in place to ensure that the unexpected need to revise contract definitions does not provide certain members with an unintended advantage.
Among the possible changes that I feel would improve this situation are the following:
1) Post a notification in the “-News”- whenever existing contract definitions are changed.
2) Notify all members with current positions and/or orders in a given contract whenever rule changes are posted.
3) Halt trading for some period of time after each change to allow members equal opportunity to respond to these changes, rather than providing an advantage to anyone who might look back at the contract specs or read their email first, including anyone who might know to look for a change after requesting the clarification from Intrade.
4) Add an asterisk or other indicator beside the contract summary on the trading screen, so that members interested in that contract will know that the contract definition has been changed. Ideally, the date of this revision should be included.
5) Add whatever changes among the above are instituted to Rule 1.7.
Changes 1), 2) and 5) seem like common sense to me, but perhaps others will disagree. In any case, I look forward to other exchange members’- comments on all of these suggestions.
The same trader, in December 2009:
Well, six weeks have passed since Mr. Delaney’-s assurance that this issue would be addressed “-ASAP”-. Unless I have somehow missed being notified of the policy change , it seems clear that the status quo is fine by management.
All I can do to attempt to encourage Intrade to take seriously the ambiguities in certain contracts is:
1) liquidate all my positions in such contracts,
2) avoid trading any potentially ambiguous contracts,
3) attempt to warn other traders about contracts that may be potentially ambiguous.
In particular, I will certainly stay away from any contracts involving U.S. legislation.
I could instead try to anticipate specific improvements that would help minimize ambiguities. However, if Intrade management cannot be bothered to address this issue even in a broad way, I think that it would be counterproductive for me to apply the occasional Band-aid. Discouraging other traders from becoming entangled seems more productive.