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September 30, 1999

Sloppy Work Cited

By Staff reports

At Day Trading FirmsTestifying before a Senate panel in Washington, Arthur Levitt the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the agency found no evidence of widespread wrongdoing among 30 day trading firms examined by the agency.

Mostly, the agency found evidence of "sloppiness" with ordinary procedures at the firms.

A third of the 30 firms engaged in wrongful activity and were referred to the SEC's enforcement unit. The agency continues to investigate 15 other firms.

Armed with the results of his agency's probe of the industry, Levitt is critical of new legislation on day trading.

Levitt told the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation that new laws on day trading would not eliminate problems in the industry. The SEC estimates that day trading accounts for less than 5 percent of the market's volume.

Day trading became national news this summer when a crazed day trader opened fire at the offices of Momentum Securities and All-Tech Investment Group in Atlanta, killing nine people. The episode came as state regulators released a report critical of certain marketing tactics used by day-trading firms.