March 21, 2008
Your proposal on Naked Short Selling does not go far enough. The teeth it needs should be persuasive. A financial disincentive will not deter risk taking opposite the regulations. The rule breakers are used to dealing with financial risk. It is part of their game and how they make their living. There must be a real disincentive, like the loss of freedom through serving jail time for choosing to break the rules.
Furthermore, the financial companies that borrow shares of their account holders to loan to short investors should be required to share their remuneration for loaning those shares with the owner of those shares. Shorts are working against the interest of shareowners that bought those shares expecting them to appreciate based on company performance and fundamentals. The same shares should not be rented in a bet against the owners without compensation to the owners of the shares.
Also, take another look at your dissolution of the Uptick Rule. As you can tell from activity since the July 6, 2008 change, the removal of the uptick rule has made the market more volatile by allowing short sellers to more easily drive down stock prices. This gives short sellers an advantage and hurts long-term investors, especially non-professionals. This benefit conveys especially to large, well-funded groups that can bash stocks relentlessly against the interest of the investor, the company, and our economy, eventually pushing reasonably leveraged investors into margin call levels that furthers the shorts' objectives only. This rule needs to be reinstated. A large scale, knowledgeable investor of some repute has recently discussed what is happening in the absence of the Uptick Rule: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=690802125play=1 Isnt it possible the Bear Stearns collapse was caused DIRECTLY by this shorting on downticks? But for recent FOMC intervention, more would follow.
I will let you go. You have an important job to do.
Bryan M. Byrd
Cc: Benjamin L. Cardin
Barbara A. Mikulski
Chris Van Hollen