Most everyone in their imagination wants to win, every time that they play a game, or basically in life, itself. In particular, those that are in the financial game, most definitely want to win, especially since their careers, salaries, bonuses, and advancement depend upon it, but Wall Street is a fickle place, and today's winners are often tomorrow's losers and vice versa, though, there are companies and funds that more times than not, outperform the market, consistently. Then, there are those, that seem to have taken what appears to be the randomness of Wall Street, and have built business models, that can handle just about any possible or conceivable scenario, and whether the market is up, or whether the market is down, and despite all the associated costs that are necessitated by being a trader or market maker, are able to make money, every single day, without exception, and seemingly without risk.
For instance, as reported by Bloomberg.com, "The consistency with which Virtu earns a profit is almost beyond belief. From 2009 to 2014 it lost money on only one day." In addition, as reported by nytimes.com, "The founder of Tradebot, in Kansas City, Mo., told students in 2008 that his firm typically held stocks for 11 seconds. Tradebot, one of the biggest high-frequency traders around, had not had a losing day in four years, he said." The only conceivable way that these companies can make money every single day, is to somehow, again and again, in some form or another, take advantage of their superior speed and processing times, being slightly faster than the other market players, so as to lock in, very minute gains in aggregate, again and again, each and every trading day.
One might just say that if it isn't illegal, than that is just the cost of doing business for all the other traders that do not have same setup which enables them to make that easy money, therefore allowing these high frequency traders to make millions upon millions of dollars, until such a time that things and conditions change. Perhaps that is a reasonable position to take, perhaps not, though, of course, when a middleman takes a few cents here and there, that obviously means that the cost of doing business for everyone else, rises by that few cents, so that, those that are not able to buy into or join up with those high frequency traders that never lose, are going to in aggregate, have millions of dollars siphoned out of their pockets.
The thing to remember about investing in equities of all types is that they are traded in real time on public stock exchanges, so that the price of those securities is changing all of the time, based upon the trading pattern of that equity, of which that trading theoretically can be done at the speed of light, so that speed most definitely matters, because those that are bit quicker, are able to dominate ever so slightly, those that are a bit slower. In all probability, the market probably has never been exactly fair to the little guy, mainly because all of the main players in the market game want to make sure to take care of themselves first, before taking proper care of their customers, because these players need to make their money, and in order to do so they need to take a little piece of the action from the average investor, at a cost a little bit higher than what it really should be, signifying that high frequency trading is just another added incremental cost onto the same essential game.