SEC Votes To Create Consolidated Audit Trail For Equity And Option Markets

Thursday, July 12, 2012 08:39
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SEC Votes To Create Consolidated Audit Trail For Equity And Option Markets

Tags: FINRA | markets | regulation | sec

New oversight designed to monitor trading activity of equities and stock options by exchanges and broker-dealers has been mandated by the SEC. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is to establish a consolidated audit trail that will allow market crises to be analyzed through reenactment and will facilitate better oversight of 13 equity exchanges, 10 options markets, and over 200 broker-dealers who trade equities.

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Circuit breakers that are triggered any time a stock price makes a 10% move within a five minute time period are already in place. When triggered, the breakers require market-makers to quote prices as close as possible to the best price.
 
Even with this tool in place, it took three months to collect the data necessary to determine best prices after the May 2010 flash crash. The new rule will mandate some data to be available by 8 a.m. the next morning after a crisis, a move that was previously deemed too expensive and unnecessary. SIFMA opposed requiring real-time data so the next-day rule was implemented instead.
 
By creating a consolidated trail, the SEC will have more information that will aid analysis during and after market crises as well as insider trading and market manipulation investigations. Details of just how the trail will be constructed have been assigned to self-regulatory bodies that operate the exchanges as well as to FINRA to develop.
 
The audit trail must be in place within nine months of the vote, decided yesterday. The price tag for implementing the audit is estimated by FINRA to be approximately $125 million. SEC chair Mary Schapiro says the SEC will stay involved in the process and will not simply rubber stamp whatever FINRA and the exchange SROs come up with.

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