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SEC Is Asked to Repeal Trade-Through Rule

September 28, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Twelve U.S. House members from California, all Democrats, have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to let investors opt for faster execution of stock trades instead of waiting for an exchange to find the best price.

They want the SEC to repeal the trade-through rule, which forces exchanges to make price the top priority. Public pension fund officials from at least seven states, including California, have asked for the change, saying speed can be more important than price in some trades.

"The trade-through rule as it stands today is obsolete," the lawmakers wrote in a Sept. 24 letter to SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson. "Individuals and institutions will benefit from greater control over their own trades."

The SEC is considering relaxing the rule as part of the biggest overhaul of laws governing U.S. markets since 1975. The rule forbids computerized markets that can make trades in fractions of a second to execute orders at prices inferior to those displayed on the New York Stock Exchange, even though the NYSE may take as long as 20 seconds to complete a trade.

Repealing the rule could hurt the NYSE, analysts say.

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