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February 1, 2005

Was the SRO Plan Rushed to Press?

By Gregory Bresiger

The Securities and Exchange Commission should take more time reviewing its Self Regulatory Organization (SRO) reform proposals.

The Securities Industry Association complains, in a comment letter, that the industry hasn't had enough time to review the plans, some of which are controversial.

"The commissioners were advised that the Staff believed that the rulemaking should not be surprising or controversial to commenters. SIA respectfully believes that the assessment might have been premature," according to the letter from SIA President Marc Lackritz. The proposed SRO rule and concept release raised issues about the governing structure of SROs. The plan suggests more independent direction of these regulatory organizations.

The SIA's request comes at the same time that SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins was also discussing a possible extension of the Reg NMS comment period. Atkins questions if the re-packaged plan is even ready for public review. Atkins contends that the current plan is flawed and he hopes that there will be massive public comment.

The commissioner also said, "it is important to hear the market participants' opinion as to whether the lack of depth and liquidity in the Nasdaq market is a significant weakness and whether the extension of the full depth-of-book to the Nasdaq market will cause more harm than good."