May 5, 2009
Mary L. Shapiro, SEC Chairman
Dear Ms Shapiro,
I am an individual investor. My wife and I make our living on my ability to make sense of a complex investment climate.
I am writing in support of reinstatement of Rule 10a-1. That rule was in place and working for roughly 69 years. While I do not know the motivation behind removing it, since its removal, well, we are all familiar with the precipitous fall of so many issues.
I realize that a fair amount of testing was done prior to removal of the Rule I believe however that the market and rules governing its movements are a patchwork of regulations which have evolved over more than a hundred years. Consequences of seemingly insignificant rule changes, I believe, will become harder to predict as our investment tools become automated and complex.
First, even if the rule seems relatively ineffective, reinstatement of that rule will instill confidence in many who now question weather the market is free of manipulation. I believe that alone is good reason to put back what has worked for so many years.
Second, electronic executions and the ability to automate the coordination between many parties may lead to "bear raids" that would be difficult to detect and properly regulate. Furthermore manipulative behavior may be nearly impossible to trace, after the fact. Many of us, as individuals, worry that those with the financial and technical resources to create sophisticated tools will place the market at large at a disadvantage.
Lastly, I believe that anything short of a market-wide approach will simply lead to an attempt to "clean up the mess" after the damage has been done. Circuit breakers simply allow manipulation to occur until the breaker trips. This allows the sophisticated short player to make his money moving a large position prior to the circuit breaker kicking in.
I don't believe that the elimination of Rule 10a-1 was the cause of our recession but that combined with massive credit default swaps without the capital to back them up, strict interpretation of FASB 157, too many individuals with too much debt and a host of other issues have put us in jeopardy.
Reinstatement of rule 10a-1 will get one piece of this complex puzzle into its proper place.
Terry A. Walters