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April 30, 2004

Looking for NMS Comments? Keep Looking!

By Gregory Bresiger

The way that the Securities and Exchange Commission is listing public comments on its proposed Reg NMS is confusing some.

You think you've found the comments. However, you probably haven't. At the SEC website, under the section called proposed rules, there are comments under the Reg NMS file. Click on comments and one finds about seven letters from individuals.

Recently, there were no comments from the big boys of the trading industry, leading some to believe that the Instinets, Nasdaqs and Knight Trading Groups were going to wait until the last moment to file their comment for a late April NMS hearing. But wait. That would be wrong. Most of the biggest players in the industry had already filed their comments, but the SEC decided not to place them in the proposed rules section. Instead, the SEC was listing the comments in the upcoming events section.

Several veteran trading industry players were non-plussed. "This is a disgrace. They are doing this, I believe, because the Reg NMS proposal is a fiasco and they know it," said one observer. "It's also a disgrace that they won't let me know if I can testify until just before the hearing. I would have just five days to prepare for the testimony."

An SEC spokesman said that the comments and the hearing sections were different. He noted that it would be "very difficult to put all the comments in both sections." However, he added, "maybe you [Traders Magazine] could run an article explaining where these comments are."