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Pensions & Investments: SEC Proposes Governance Revamp for National Market System

STA

Alexandra Hamer

Alexandra Hamer

Jim Toes, president and CEO of the Security Traders Association, comments on the SEC’s proposed governance revamp for a national market system.

How exchanges produce public consolidated equity market data may soon change, following the SEC’s vote Wednesday to solicit comments on revamping the governance of national market system plans.

The three proposed orders would direct equity exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to file with the SEC a new NMS plan designed to increase transparency and address conflicts of interest and other issues that exist under the current governance structure for the existing NMS plans. The orders were approved in a 3-2 vote — Commissioners Robert J. Jackson Jr. and Allison Herren Lee, both Democrats, dissented.

Currently, “core data” — the best quoted prices and most recent trades in NMS stocks — are collected, processed and disseminated to the public by three separate equity data plans, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted at Wednesday’s meeting. Self-regulatory organizations, such as exchanges, currently have governance authority and related control over the equity data plans, Mr. Clayton added.

Under the proposed orders, the exchanges would be required to propose a new single equity data plan.

Mr. Clayton called the proposal an important step in the SEC’s ongoing efforts to modernize the national market system. “Today’s proposed order is designed to address issues regarding the dissemination of market data that affect the efficiency and fairness of our markets,” he said in a state following Wednesday’s vote. “In particular, we welcome public input on the specific proposed governance provisions.”

Jim Toes, president and CEO of the Security Traders Association, said the proposal will increase transparency and that it makes sense to have one set of rules instead of three. “For anyone who’s been following this topic for the past 10 years, today was a pinnacle moment,” Mr. Toes said.

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