From: Michael F. Gaffney
I am writing on behalf of Icon Advisers, Inc., a value oriented investment management firm in Greenwood Village, Colorado. We currently manage approximately $2.5 billion dollars consisting of 25 mutual funds, institutional and individual accounts, and variable annuities.
The Commission's proposed NMS Regulation contains a fair access provision that-depending on how it is ultimately worded and interpreted- might apply to institutional block trading venues, such as Liquidnet.
We have been a participant in Liquidnet since 2002. Liquidnet has proved to be an effective venue for executing block trades with price improvement and reduced market impact costs. The savings we achieve through Liquidnet are passed on to the accounts we manage and the beneficiaries of those accounts. Executing trades with no impact at a low commission does nothing but help the beneficiaries of the accounts I trade.
We do not think the Commission intends to require such trading venues to "admit" retail customers, and we believe it is not realistic or feasible. As a result, we believe that, if the commission adopts Regulation NMS, it should clarify that its fair access provision does not, and should not, apply to trading venues like Liquidnet. A contrary conclusion would not protect those shareholders to whom we owe critical fiduciary responsibilities.
We sincerely hope that the SEC will consider our input in this matter.