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July 27, 2005

Can the SEC Hurry Up?

By Gregory Bresiger

(Traders Magazine, July 2005) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission must act faster on rules and exchange applications. That's what a lawmaker and a regional stock exchange head recently told the U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on market structure.

"I am very concerned about how long it is taking the commission to act at times," said Senator Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky). He complained that the four and half year Nasdaq exchange application process is "excessive."

Bunning, noting the recent 3-2 approval of Reg NMS, also complained about the "open hostility" at commission meetings.

Meyer "Sandy" Frucher, chairman of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, said regional exchanges are depending on the SEC to review proposed rule changes expeditiously. They will need these changes reviewed quickly so they can effectively compete with Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange and prepare for the implementation of Reg NMS in April 2006, he said.

"Competing exchanges therefore must seek out strategic alliances," Frucher told the committee, "develop the technologies and submit the rule changes they will need to remain competitive before the first quarter of 2006."

Frucher warned that, if the SEC didn't act quickly on regional exchange rules proposals, then "the potential for competition with the NYSE and Nasdaq may be lost forever."