Tagged: Consolidated Tape

Follow the Money

If you appeal a parking ticket to the Parking Department, what’s your expectation of objectivity? The Parking Department collects revenues.

Which brings us to word circulating last week from CEO Duncan Niederauer that NYSE Euronext and other exchanges are confronting the growing problem of off-exchange trading. “It impacts the quality and integrity of the U.S. capital market – and ultimately the ability of markets to enable companies like yours to raise capital efficiently,” Niederaur wrote in a letter to issuers (which a variety of alert readers passed along to me).

Shouldn’t we first ask why money has fled displayed markets? Private equity is working great. It’s a non-displayed market. Pensions and endowments have nearly twice as much money in private equity than public equity today. Investors aren’t forced to transact off the exchanges. They choose to.

Now exchanges want regulators to herd them back to displayed markets…for your good? Or for theirs? There’s a biblical proverb that says, “The first to present his case seems right, until another comes forward to question him.”

I think fragmented markets are a problem. But the reason the NYSE and other exchanges want trading between brokers to move back to exchanges isn’t for capital-formation purposes. It’s because the NYSE and other exchanges are data and technology vendors. NYSE Technologies last year generated $473 million of revenue supplying data, circuits and technologies to those trading your shares. (more…)

NYSE Goes Retail

The recent SEC approval of plans by the NYSE to attract retail dark liquidity generated a nationwide acronym alert.

Just kidding. Mostly. But acronyms in hordes do assault readers of the NYSE rule. It was not readily apparent that the filing had been composed in English.

If you didn’t hear, the SEC last week approved plans by the NYSE to host undisplayed orders originating from retail investors for matching against high-frequency trades in sub-penny increments.

We don’t fault the NYSE. It’s trying to compete for data revenue under plans that require it to match at least 25% of trades to earn revenue from the data those trades generate. With its share of market slipping below that level in May, the need was urgent.

But there are problems here for IR pros and public companies beyond that fact that it represents an abrupt and contradictory about-face from the SEC. We could go on for pages but because some of you would become alcoholics as a result, we’ll confine ourselves to a single, overriding flaw:

The rule effectively establishes 1,000 price points per dollar. In Regulation National Market System, Rule 612, called the Sub-Penny Rule, states: “No national securities exchange, national securities association, alternative trading system, vendor, or broker or dealer shall display, rank, or accept from any person a bid or offer, an order, or an indication of interest in any NMS stock priced in an increment smaller than $0.01 if that bid or offer, order, or indication of interest is priced equal to or greater than $1.00 per share.” (more…)

I am the doofus on camera that I feared I was.

Fortunately, Lou Cordone, head of Thomson Advisory Services is not a doofus, so we balanced out.

We said last week we’d have big news about the Issuer Data Initiative? Thomson Reuters heard about the Initiative, examined its merits, and decided to lend a hand. They invited me to film a segment on their “Smart Topics” program for Thomson’s surveillance clients.

Thomson is a neutral party. But we cannot thank them enough – you too, because this effort is for public companies – for their kindness and generosity. See it from the IDI landing page, or click here.

More huge thanks are due. The office of the general counsel for a client, a major technology company, lent an editorial eye to the draft letter for Congress and the SEC. Thousands of dollars of legal work, pro bono. The petition is that much stronger. And we’re speaking again with the SEC the week of May 9 about the status of the Initiative. (more…)

Don’t pass Go.  I will give $200 to the first person who correctly answers two questions.

Only corporate IROs may answer. Apologies to the rest, but you’ll see why. Corporate IR pros, look up and write down your trading volume on March 4. First question: Where did your shares trade?

Second question: Which brokers executed the trades that, when added up, equaled that volume you wrote down for March 4?

Yesterday, Dow Jones reporter Jacob Bunge wrote about our drive to organize companies to petition Congress and regulators for more transparent data about their share-trading.

There’s a landing page on our website for the letter we’ve drafted. Our goal is to list 100 companies as supporters when we deliver this letter. It should be 5,500. I’ll tell you why in a moment. (more…)