August 9, 2010
Would like to express my complete agreement with the comment submitted by Peter Chepucavage, whom I do not know, regarding short-selling pre-borrow requirements for even intra-day trades. This point is particularly compelling in light of BlackRock's application today to create ETF's to hold short positions.
Publicly listed companies are required by the SEC to report their EPS on a fully diluted basis. This is to avoid manipulation of earnings reports. Equivalently, shorts should not be allowed to dilute shareholders off-market - short selling w/o a borrowing requirement essentially allows shorts to suspend supply and demand within the marketplace with potentially unlimited amounts of dilution. Borrowing should be vigorously enforced for each and every short trade, including those covered same day.
In addition I would recommend taking a good look at stock borrowing agreements and the lack of transparency in their execution. Do you think mutual fund investors are happy to have their shares lent for a pittance to short-sellers who seek to destroy the value of their portfolios? Pension participants as well often lack any say in the handling and segregation of their share investments. More sunlight, please.