Specific Topics for Discussion at the Commission's Market Structure Hearings

The hearings will address the following three topics: (1) market data, (2) best execution and related agency issues, and (3) exchanges and the self-regulatory system. The discussions will emphasize the major objectives of a national market system, with a particular focus on how those objectives can best be implemented to achieve the needs of retail and institutional investors and new trading systems.

1. Market Data

  • What real-time data do retail and institutional investors and market professionals require?
  • How should real-time data from different markets be consolidated? Who should compile and consolidate real-time market data?
  • Who should pay for real-time market data? Who should get paid for real-time market data?

2. Best Execution and Related Agency Issues

  • What is the responsibility of brokers and market centers for achieving best execution for retail and institutional investors? What does best execution mean?
  • What are the major current impediments to best execution for market orders and limit orders? What is the impact of market fragmentation and internalization of orders on execution quality? Do the benefits of fragmentation and internalization outweigh the costs?
  • What minimum access should market professionals establish to existing firms publishing quotations to fulfill their duty of best execution? What minimum access should firms publishing quotations provide market professionals to ensure best execution and pricing efficiency? What barriers impede efficient access to published quotations?
  • What intermarket mechanisms are necessary to ensure that all participants are able to offer their clients best execution in the national securities marketplace?

3. Exchanges and the Self-Regulatory System

  • Under what circumstances should a trading system or other market center be required to register and be regulated as an exchange?
  • What are the obligations of a registered exchange? What minimum protections should investors receive when sending an order to an exchange?
  • What interests are self-regulatory organizations supposed to represent? How does the governance and ownership of self-regulatory organizations affect their role? What impact does for-profit ownership have on self-regulatory organizations?
  • Should self-regulatory functions be reallocated among the various self-regulatory organizations? To what extent should broker-dealers and alternative trading systems be able to choose the self-regulatory organization(s) responsible for regulating

Last modified: 10/24/2002