October 10, 2009
SEC Open Response
Subject: File #4-590
As an individual investor I congratulate the SEC on undertaking this important rule making issue. Putting a strong investor protection mechanism back in place to protect the long term stock investor from the at will short sellers is essential for the proper functioning of our capital markets. The old uptick rule did just this. Without this rule, stocks and the stock markets themselves will continually be gamed by the at will short sellers.
The original rule provided me as an investor with essential protection The ability to sell my stock when bad news happened without worrying that the at will short seller, with no investment risk in the stock, who was quick and rapidly selling it short, perhaps based only upon bad news and not from their research, thus driving the price and value of my holding down before I could sell it. The old rule with its inception dating back to 1938 has served long term investors well through its many years as it required an uptick of 1/8 of one dollar, 12.5 cents, before the stock could be shorted. This rule was easily understood and one that was not difficult to manage, to police and to enforce.
I do believe, naked short selling should be banned. In essence, this is selling something that one does not own and in doing so constitutes fraud. For those that have abused naked short selling they should be sought out and proceedings brought against them. Naked short sellers first sell a stock short, perhaps on bad news only, and then go about locating shares to borrow to cover their open short position(s). The old uptick rule in itself reduce naked short selling because of the required uptick in a stocks price, thus reducing the opportunity to quickly and rapidly short a stock based upon bad news.
The absence of the protection that the old uptick rule provided me as an investor has caused me to reduce not only my number of stock positions but also the amount of money I currently have invested in stocks.
In addition, had the old uptick rule been in effect this past fall it is conceivable that the great bear raid that occurred on stocks might not have happened. After all, as I recall, it was necessary for the SEC to take special action to ban short selling on many stocks due to the short selling abuse employed by some short sellers. Had there been an uptick rule in effect this special action by the SEC might not have been necessary.
I respectfully encourage the SEC to reinstate the old uptick rule, in some fashion, as it served the stock market and its investors well through the years. It made the markets fair for the long term stock investor as well as the short seller that was research focused. They could establish a short position on a stock's price uptick believing in their research that its price would be pulling back.
In closing bringing back the old uptick rule would go a long way in restoring investor confidence. It would also be a helpful aid to the SEC in meeting its own mission statement which says, protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitate capital formation.
The naked shorts should be prosecuted as they have committed fraud, from my perspective, in selling something they did not own.
In addition high frequency trading should be looked into as I feel this "games" the markets too.
Cecil J. Krimminger