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SEC To Curtail Abusive Short Sales

HedgeCo.net (West Palm Beach) – The SEC announced several actions protecting against short sales and make more short sale information available to the public.

”Today’s actions demonstrate the Commission’s determination to address short selling abuses while at the same time increasing public disclosure of short selling activities that affect our markets” said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro.

First, the Commission made permanent a rule, that seeks to reduce the potential for abusive ”naked” short selling in the securities market. The new rule, Rule 204, requires broker-dealers to promptly purchase or borrow securities to deliver on a short sale. The temporary rule, approved by the SEC in the fall of 2008, was set to expire on July 31.

Second, the Commission and its staff are working together with several self-regulatory organizations (SRO) to make short sale volume and transaction data available through the SRO Web sites. This effort will result in an increase over the amount of information presently required by another temporary rule, known as Temporary 10a-3T. That rule, which will expire on August 1, applies only to certain institutional money managers and does not require public disclosure.

Apart from these measures, the Commission is continuing to actively consider proposals on a short sale price test and circuit breaker restrictions.

Third, the Commission intends to hold a public roundtable on September 30 to discuss securities lending, pre-borrowing, and possible additional short sale disclosures. The roundtable will consider, among other topics, the potential impact of a program requiring short sellers to pre-borrow their securities, possibly on a pilot basis, and adding a short sale indicator to the tapes to which transactions are reported for exchange-listed securities.

Short selling often can play an important role, the SEC said, in the market for a variety of reasons, including contributing to efficient price discovery, mitigating market bubbles, increasing market liquidity, promoting capital formation, facilitating hedging and other risk management activities, and importantly, limiting upward market manipulations. There are, however, circumstances in which short selling can be used as a tool to manipulate the market.

Editing by Alex Akesson
alex@hedgeco.net

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