August 18, 2009
I have invested and traded stocks in the United States for 25 years. I was a stock broker for Smith Barney in the 80's, I ran a long short hedge fund in the 90's and I now make my living investing in the markets on a daily basis. I never found it necessary to manipulate the markets by shorting on down ticks, front running customer orders through computer generated high frequency trading or naked short selling. The big boys have taken over the markets and the average individual investor's confidence in the U.S. stock market is at all time lows. Even in the Great Depression the SEC stood up and did what was right to return confidence to our markets. It is time the SEC stopped giving preferential treatment to investment banks, market makers and Wall Street in general. Please restore some sort of uptick rule, please enforce front running laws and stop high frequency trading. Please stop option market makers from naked short selling so that they can control price discovery. The manipulation of prices in all markets around options expirations is an embarrassment and the market makers need to be investigated. Stock markets are a benefit to society if they aid in capital formation and allocation over the long term. What is being allowed to occur currently is capital destruction. While long term pension funds are seriously under water, investment banks proprietary trading desks are reporting record profits.