I am writing in regards to the NASD decision on 2/18/04 to delay the implementation of the new short selling rule from 2/20/04 to 4/1/04. I am a concerned and troubled by the decision of the NASD for three reasons. First, when the NASD announced this rule implementation last month individual investors, like myself, saw it as a sign that some of the naked short selling abuses would come to an end. Hence we made decisions to hold positions we believed may have been subject to naked short selling and, in some instances, increased our positions in anticipation of the 2/20/04 rule implementation date. Myself and many other investors were hoping that the rule would help market efficiency and the fact that naked short selling abuses have historically been a manipulative tool to keep stock pps down.
Second, the decision of the NASD to change their deadline less than TWO days before implementation is not only a complete disregard for investors but sends the message that the NASD is itself not capable to enforcing it's rules and deadlines.
Finally, delaying the rule implementation until 4/1/2004 will force investors to make unfair decisions to either hold on to positions that are now being and will continue to be subject to naked short selling or to sell, sometimes at significant loss, because we are losing faith in the ability of the market to act fairly. Who is to say the NASD won't delay the ruling on 3/29/04, two days before the new "soft" deadline. I raise this issue to point out that in the end the NASD gave the excuse about upgrading their technology to handle orders differently. This excuse is bunk, because they have ALWAYS been able to place "normal" orders. It's obvious that brokerages who realize a large profit from this unfair practice are screaming to the Nasdaq to let them keep it up and have been met with favorable ears. Is this sort of "self regulation" going to be allowed to continue? I would appreciate a public response to this issue.