May 5, 2009
I commend the Committee for looking into this practice. I am an investment advisor who believes in free markets, but this practice of abusive shorting needs to be curtailed. I applaud all means of making the ability to short possible but it must be done within the guidelines.
I see the "circuit breaker" approach as being muted as companies that significant damage can be done dropping a company stock 9% a day for a few days. The practice of turning on the rules and turning them off is not enough.
I believe there should be an uptick rule which was established during difficult times and for good reason. To simply abolish those rules due to decimalization or practicality is absurd. These rules had value and to simply dismiss is wrong instead, trying to figure out ways to make them work in today's market is the better approach.
I also believe that the borrow of a stock needs to be ENFORCED Obviously it's hearsay, but there are rampant stories of people not locating the stock before shorting. This practice needs to be eliminated and penalized severely when it happens. Both the client requesting the trade and the agent effecting it. This, in itself, should help control the screams of "FIRE" in the theater.
If I understand correctly, this naked shorting is already illegal but the enforcement has been weak, at best.
Finally - please be aware that taking suggestions from brokers and hedge funds who make their living shorting is fraught with conflict. While it's obviously useful to listen and take their issues into account, their "plans" should be carefully scrutinized.
It's time for the SEC to stand up and take action after many years of letting the patients run the asylum.
I look forward to hearing your results and hope that if they err at all, they err towards the side of restriction and overcompensation. Given what these markets have seen, there is no guarantee that we are out of the woods yet.
Thank you for your time and for taking the opportunity to look closely at an extremely critical issue.