May 6, 2008
This issue is far more serious than suggested by the attention it has received. Confidence in the entire securities market has been undermined by massive non-covered short-selling. The illegal practice has caused the failure of businesses and great losses for investors. If the full extent of the charade were known it would shake the entire system down to it's core. Of course that's one of the problems - no one even knows how pervasive naked short-selling really is.
I urge that the SEC introduce much more transparency in short-selling and naked short-selling in particular. Fines for failure-to-deliver should be in the multi-millions, and large enough to thoroughly discourage the practice. Brokerage licenses should be revoked where there is a pattern of the behavior. Criminal penalties, including prison, should be among the sanctions, as well.
Restoring the uptick rule, making short trades visible on a daily basis, and vigorous enforcement might return the markets to some semblance of honesty and fairness.