June 10, 2011
Subject: File No. SR-NYSE-2011-20
From: Michael OConnell, Director IR Solutions
Affiliation: SNL Financial, LC
June 10, 2011
SNL Financial (SNL) urges the SEC not to approve the proposed rule change to add new Section 907.00 to the Listed Company Manual, which would set forth certain complimentary products and services that are offered to currently and newly listed issuers. SNL builds and manages IR Web sites for companies in various industries across the market cap spectrum, including NYSE-listed companies. SNL understands that it will not be included in the NYSEs list of IR Web site service providers, but that one or more of its competitors will be so included. SNL believes the proposed rule is discriminatory, misleading and anti-competitive.
The proposed rule is confusing to issuers and potential investors. Although issuers are not required to obtain services from the list of vendors provided by the NYSE, the fact that the NYSE, with the SECs approval, is offering complimentary products and services, and discounted products and services, from specified service providers could reasonably be viewed as an endorsement by the NYSE, and the SEC, of such products and services from those specific vendors. Unless there is an open and fair process by which any service provider which meets specified criteria will be added to the NYSEs vendor list upon request, the listing of certain vendors, and not others, gives the impression that these vendors services are superior, regardless of any statements to the contrary by the NYSE and/or the SEC. Additionally, by including certain vendors on the list to the exclusion of their competitors, the NYSE and the SEC are providing significant free marketing assistance to certain vendors without a basis for doing so.
This implied recommendation by the NYSE and SEC of certain vendors would provide these vendors with a competitive advantage over other vendors that provide the same services. For example, SNL believes its services compare favorably to the services provided by Thomson Reuters, a vendor on the NYSEs list.
The exclusion of certain vendors from the list is also discriminatory, as there is not an equal opportunity for vendors to be included, or for listed-companies to receive comparable financial incentives should they choose to work with a vendor not included in the NYSEs subsidy program.
Whether intended or not, SNL respectfully submits that the harmful effects of the adoption of this rule on the marketplace for services would foster an environment that is discriminatory toward vendors not included on the NYSE's list, is misleading in regards to a suggested endorsement of certain vendors by the SEC, and is not in the best interest of public companies or the industry as a whole.