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December 1, 2000

SEC: Amex Companies Don't Meet Exchange's Standards

By Staff Reports

About one third of a crop of new companies that listed on the American Stock Exchange this year did not meet the exchange's own standards, according to the SEC. The agency said 29 of the 86 companies listed in the first eight months fell short.

"These numbers indicate a need for more consistency in the application of Amex's quantitative and qualitative listing criteria," wrote Annette

Nazareth, the SEC's market regulation director, and Lori Richards, the SEC's compliance inspections and examinations director, in the memo released to U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.). Dingell is the ranking member of the House Commerce Committee.

A spokesman for the Amex stressed that its standards are not set in stone.

"Our rules provide us with the latitude for taking in companies that may not meet ongoing listing standards," said the spokesman Robert Rendine. "We have done that on occasion." The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently conducting a routine inspection of the Amex's listing programs, including reviewing whether and how often Amex listed companies did not meet the exchange's own specifications. The agency's forthcoming inspection report is expected to issue recommendations about Amex's initial and continued listing programs.

Rendine said that the SEC's inspection of the Amex is "nothing out of the ordinary. They do this with every exchange."