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November 1, 2002

SIA: Activity Fee Needs Comment Period

By Gregory Bresiger

The new Trading Activity Fee, which replaces the former Section 8(a) regulatory fee, should be put on hold, the Securities Industry Association said in a recent letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The new fee, which was proposed by the NASD, is different because it is a transactional fee assessed across all markets, according to the SIA.The old regulatory fee only affected Nasdaq securities. The old fee is assessed on NASD members, through clearing and self-clearing firms, on all transactions reported via Nasdaq's Automated Conformation Transaction system.

The SIA, in a letter sent by its general counsel, Stuart Kaswell, said the new fee will affect different firms in different ways so there should be a comment period to review it.

The fee, which was slated to go into effect last month (October), had an unrealistic implementation date "because firms do not yet know the rate of the fee and important interpretative questions have only been recently addressed," according to the Kaswell letter.

SEC officials declined comment. They said they are reviewing the correspondence.