WASHINGTON, D.C.— Stephen Hall, Better Markets’ Legal Director and Securities Specialist, issued the following statement after the SEC voted to propose a set of reforms that can benefit investors by improving the way securities trades are routed and executed:
“The trading systems that dominate our overly fragmented and needlessly complex markets today aren’t fair or transparent. Hidden in the shadows, these trading practices are often touted as reducing the costs to retail investors. But in reality, investors continue to be ripped off by the large, rich, and entrenched players that pay handsomely for retail orders they can trade against for almost guaranteed profits, leaving investors with inferior prices on their trades. Today’s proposed rules might help solve these structural problems. It will take some time to study the proposals in detail to know how effective they may prove to be. But we know that substantial overhaul is long overdue, and we certainly hope these proposals will significantly improve the fairness and transparency of our securities markets.
“We’ll be particularly interested to see the details of the proposed ‘best execution’ standard as well as the proposed order competition requirement. They represent potentially powerful reforms that might help ensure investors are truly getting the best execution for their trades, not a trade price that looks good only when measured against a distorted benchmark such as the mislabeled and incomplete ‘national best bid and offer.’
“We fully expect that the incumbent firms that benefit from the status quo will fight the SEC’s proposals. That includes the wholesaler high frequency trading firms that pocket billions in profits annually from their wealth-extraction methods, as well as other platforms that sell their retail order flow for their cut of the profits. It is imperative that the SEC resist industry pressure, carefully consider all stakeholder input, and finalize a set of rules that will truly help investors at long last to get a better deal on Wall Street.
“We also commend the SEC for its vote to finalize a rule that will help limit abusive insider trading by corporate executives. The enhancements to Rule 105b-1 are another important step forward in making our markets more fair and transparent.”
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org