SEC Moves To Curb Short-Selling

Jul 28 2009 | 9:23am ET

The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday announced several actions intended to protect the market against abusive short sales and make more short-sale information available to the public.

The agency made permanent a temporary rule that seeks to reduce the potential for abusive “naked” short selling in the securities market. The new rule requires broker-dealers to promptly purchase or borrow securities to deliver on a short sale. The temporary rule, approved by the SEC in the fall of 2008, was set to expire on July 31.

Second, the SEC and its staff are working together with several self-regulatory organizations to make short sale volume and transaction data available through self-regulatory organization Web sites. The agency is hoping that its effort will result in a substantial increase over the amount of information presently required by another temporary rule which will expire on Aug. 1, that applies only to certain institutional money managers and does not require public disclosure.

Also, the SEC intends to hold a public roundtable on Sept. 30 to discuss securities lending, pre-borrowing, and possible additional short sale disclosures. The roundtable will consider, among other topics, the potential impact of a program requiring short sellers to pre-borrow their securities, possibly on a pilot basis, and adding a short sale indicator to the tapes to which transactions are reported for exchange-listed securities.

"Today's actions demonstrate the Commission's determination to address short selling abuses while at the same time increasing public disclosure of short selling activities that affect our markets,” said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro.

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