September 11, 2007
September 11, 2007
Ms. Nancy M. Morris, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-1090
Re: Comments on Proposed Amendments to Regulation SHO
File No. S7-19-07
The U. S. stock market has become the least "investor" friendly market in the world. Instead, investors watch helplessly as the SEC bends over backwards to allow abusive, manipulative shortselling and naked shortselling by predatory hedge funds and their prime brokerage sponsors, all designed to drive stock prices lower at the greatest possible speed for the greatest possible profits...and preferably into bankruptcy, so that covering of the shorted shares need never take place at all.
These actions are not those of "investors" of companies, which the SEC is mandated to protect. These are the actions of predatory market thugs and thieves who have taken over the U.S. markets and are ruining them for companies and investors alike. And all with the SEC's blessing and complicity.
Many of the hundreds of letters written to the SEC relating to File No. S7-12-06, which also dealt with the issue of eliminating the options market maker exception--among other Reg SHO changes--were exhaustive in their detail and documentation concerning how the options market maker's exemption has ALWAYS been prohibited by the Clearance and Settlement provisions of the 1934 Securities Act (Section 17A), and should be eliminated. The exemption is illegal. The exemption results in nothing more than allowing unregistered, counterfeit shares—-manufactured by the options market maker-- to be sold into the market. Why you have called for yet another comment period, further delaying action on the elimination of this illegal, pernicious and highly damaging loophole, is completely incomprehensible...and seems only to be explained by what seems to be an ever-increasing reluctance on the part of the SEC to do ANYTHING which might hamper future chances of staffers obtaining high-paid post-SEC employment with the hedge funds, brokerages and associated law firms who have benefited by lack of SEC enforcement. This would seem to be the only explanation for the incredible lack of current enforcement of ANY of the rules against manipulative and predatory shortselling -- rules which have been on the books for literally decades.
Every night, every bank in the country reconciles transactions written against the money held in customer accounts with the actual dollars held in those accounts. If there is insufficient money in the account to meet the transaction drawn against it, the transaction isn't completed.
Not so with the DTCC. If "sales" of shares outnumber the authorized float of shares available for a company, why, the DTCC just issues IOUs for the non-existent shares which were "sold" and never delivered, and puts that IOU into the account of the customer who has paid real money to buy ACTUAL shares. After all, the customer won't know the difference, since his brokerage statement will indicate that shares were actually delivered to him, even though they were not...and in this way the brokerages can keep all that lovely money paid to them by the trusting customers, and the DTCC and SEC can keep the hedge funds and their prime broker sponsors happy by facilitating their quick profits on their selling of non-existent shares which tanked the share price so predictably.
This is nothing but outright fraud and thievery, and it simply must be stopped. Shares reflected in customer accounts should never exceed the number of shares in a stock's float.
The U.S. stock market was the 56th worst performing stock market in 2006. It is even further down on the list this year. Such abysmal performance is no coincidence, since the U.S. markets also have the most "counterfeit" shares trading of any market in the world, with well over 85 BILLION dollars in FTDs and FTRs for just the NYSE alone, according to the Securities Industry Association's own figures. How shameful.
Other countries, if they allow it at all, limit shortselling to a small percentage of the authorized float. They insist on delivery of shares sold. They protect their investors, and the companies those investors are investing in, from manipulative, predatory shortsellers. What a concept.
Shortselling is not investing. How on earth have NON-INVESTORS in U.S. companies come to so completely dominate and control the share price and future growth of these companies? Shortselling is strictly gambling. Options are strictly gambling. It's the SEC's job to protect INVESTORS of companies, not gamblers in the derivatives of a company's stock.
Stop allowing the derivatives tail to wag the security dog.
When is the SEC going to do what every other country in the world is already doing? Protect the INVESTORS, not the gamblers. Thanks to the broad reach of the internet, the U.S. markets are beginning to be known to investors around the world as the most corrupt, manipulated, and rigged markets there are. It will be extremely difficult to undo that reputation. And many, many companies are beginning to catch on as well. Over 50 companies have already voluntarily relinquished their NYSE listings just since April of this year. You think this is due to SARBOX? Don't kid yourselves. It used to be an honor to be listed on a U.S. exchange. No more. Companies see the collusive bear raids enacted against their company's share price by predatory hedge funds on a routine basis, and see the SEC doing nothing to enforce the rules which ALREADY EXIST against these practices. They leave the U.S. markets in disgust...as do many, many investors.
The Gary Aguirre revelations outlining the corruption, greed, and graft in the U.S. markets--and in the highest echelons of the SEC--should make you as sick to your stomach as they did me. The massive report recently issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee and General Accounting Office, documenting and vindicating Aguirre's allegations, should make you even sicker.
Please start settling the trades. Deliver the shares. Clean up the Fails to Deliver/Fails to Receive. Quit allowing lending of the same shares over and over and over. And yes, by all means, eliminate the options market exemption, which does nothing but enable counterfeiting of shares out of thin air, with the "sale" of those counterfeit shares too often resulting in permanent FTDs, and the permanent illegal expansion of a company's trading float.
And please reinstitute the uptick rule while you're at it. Your irresponsible elimination of this decades-old protective rule has made an already horrible situation for thinly traded small cap and mid-cap stocks much, much worse....with professional traders having the gall to crow jubilantly on CNBC that now, without the uptick rule, they can REALLY whack small stocks, sending their share prices down an easy 10 percent with no effort at all.
I've lost my life savings in the U.S. markets over the past few years due to massive abusive short selling of stocks I invested in. For the sake of our children and grandchildren--YOUR children and grandchildren--please start cleaning up the U.S. markets before their integrity is lost forever.
As Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing."
The SEC has done nothing for too long about the part played by the options market maker exemption in exacerbating the systemic Fails to Deliver problem in the U.S. equity markets. Its time now to act decisively to stamp out this particular evil once and for all.
D. L. Weissinger
cc: Sen. Chris Dodd
Sen. Chuck Grassley
Sen. Arlen Specter
Sen. Barney Frank