From: Steve Barnard
To Whom It May Concern:
I no longer practice securities law, so I do not make a habit of looking at proposed regulations, particularly those relating to SROs. The referenced AMEX regulation is a reminder that I probably should be more observant. As a parent, I was distressed to go to my toolbox only to find that the tool you needed had been lost by a child. As an investor, however, it is extremely painful to go to your investment toolbox looking for something to find that it is gone [and cannot be replaced]. When I went to sell some shares of a thinly-traded stock, I found out that the tool was gone. My options now are limit orders that in a thinly traded stock sometimes as little as 1200 shares a day will result in lots of little sales and lots of little commissions that get big real fast. As you are aware, sometimes even small sales put pressure on the downside of a stock price. As an aside, this seems to be even more problematic with the AMEX since many specialists really donít seem to be capable of making orderly markets. Consequently, if there is inadequate buy side, you end up selling against yourself, constantly lowering your price to sell your shares. An AON lets you put out an order and wait.
I am aware that I am way beyond the comment period, but the thrust of my concerns goes to the manner in which the Commission allows these issues to be handled. If a matter is of sufficient import for the Commission or the MRD to be informed of the change, application for immediate effectiveness as well as requests for shortening the period for effectiveness are totally inappropriate. These are in my estimation short-line railroads, which provide no opportunity for the investing public or their advisors to comment or to even know what is going on.
I found the proffered rationales particularly amusing. First, everybody else is doing it. My kids didnít use this one past about 9. Second, itís not used very much. Neither is my chainsaw, but it is sure nice to have around when you have a big branch to cut up. If we used the second rationale all the time, we would only have Wal-Mart because none of the other stores get used very much. There was no cost or other supporting dataójust assertions to be taken as true, and I guess you did.
I generally believe that you folks do a great job under difficult circumstances at best. I think that there needs to be a better way of getting the word around so you get more than one comment from the guy from New Jersey (who was spot on by the way). Iíll bet that one posting on an investment site like The Street or The Motley Fool, would have provided the MRD and Commission with a more accurate perception of the public and investor interest in this subject. Oh well, in the words of Joni Mitchell, ďDonít it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone.Ē
J. Steven Barnard