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Alternative Market Briefing

SEC Chair seeks market structure reform

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

SEC chair Mary Jo White has market structure in her crosshairs. The regulator said in recent public remarks that she would be looking at market structure, and has indeed revealed a five point reform plan.

While noting that the "[t]he current market structure is not fundamentally broken," White said that the SEC is conducting a "comprehensive review" of the investment environment. According to a client alert from law firm Akin Gump, that plan focuses on these areas: "1) market stability, (2) high-frequency trading, (3) trading fragmentation, (4) broker conflicts, and (5) markets for small companies. The proposals White outlined, if adopted, would impact market participants of all types, including exchanges, alternative trading venues, clearing firms, broker-dealers, and investment advisers."

The proposals look strikingly similar to some of the issues covered in Europe on the next phase plan for MiFID, Union's own market structure reform package. Lawyers note that market participants can expect to see significant changes in the "coming months," an unusually fast timeline for the regulator.

Additionally, the agency will soon launch a pilot program to allow small capitalization stocks to trade with wider tick ranges in order to improve liquidity and attract market makers to this segment of the e......................

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