May 8, 2009
Having spent 37 years on the floor of the NYSE 29 of them as a floor broker I have seen first hand how the up-tick rule slows down the downturn and in some cases the meltdown of a stock. In a situation where there is a delayed opening the specialist along with a senior floor official or governor would determine a fair price on a minus tick. This practice would not allow the short sellers to participate on the opening sale. More often then not the short sellers would disappear immediately after the opening.If there were multiple sellers at the point of sale during the trading day the brokers would sell stock on minus ticks to prevent the shorts from participating. This would slow down any free-fall and give the long sellers a chance to liquidate their positions. Without a tick rule the short sellers would just beat down the stock as we saw in the financial sector and eventually panic the long sellers thus accelerating the meltdown. This is not something new. The reason the tick rule was put into place after the crash of 1929 was to prevent the "Pool Operators" from leaning on a stock and profiting from the long sellers that were eventually forced to sell. The elimination of the tick rule is still to me a mistake and should be reinstated immediately.