SEC Proposes Flash-Trading Ban

Sep 21 2009 | 11:07am ET

The Securities and Exchange Commission is moving forward with its plan to ban flash-trading, meaning the controversial practice could be in its final months.

The regulator announced its proposed ban on Thursday, more than a month after Chairman Mary Schapiro said the SEC would “quickly eliminate the inequity” caused by flash-orders, which give some traders a split-second peek at other orders before they become public. While many major securities markets, including the Nasdaq Stock Market and New York Stock Exchange, do not allow or provide for flash-trading, some direct-market access firms do offer them.

The SEC’s proposal begins a 60-day comment period, after which it will schedule a vote on the measure.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key proponent of the ban, called the SEC proposal “pretty much water-tight” and warned that it “should not be weakened by the commission as the rule-making process goes forward.” All five members of the SEC—including its two Republican members—voted to propose the ban.

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