Dec. 29, 2003
Jonathan G. Katz
Comment to File SR-NYSE-2003-34
Dear Mr. Katz:
The NYSE proposal may not be harmful, but it does not address the fundamental conflict of self-regulation. SEC leadership must take the historic opportunity to reform the Big Board. The SEC has for too long "fiddled" while the NYSE (and other SROs) "burned." The SEC's own public comment file is filled with details on how the NYSE insiders use their informational advantage to the disadvantage of investors. Neither the NYSE or SEC has shown any interest in exposing abuses on the floor; indeed, the floor broker scandal settled in 1999 was a quick shutting of the "barn door" by the SEC.
Although I am not opposed to this proposal, it sounds like more fiddling. True independent enforcement and oversight--both at the SEC and NYSE--are needed. Some bold step, such as real-time physical enforcement on the floor by SEC staff, is needed. This effort should be from independent, specially trained and experienced staff from SEC enforcement or the OCIE, rather than by staff of the Division of Market Regulation. Market Reg is itself conflicted via its close association with the NYSE through ongoing joint regulatory initiatives.
The SEC's job, first and foremost, must be to oversee the SROs. This proposal appears to be a weak CYA'ing effort. While a first step, it would be truly tragic if the Commission failed to move forward in fixing the broken system of SRO self-regulation.