August 23, 2013

SEC’s White Vows New Trading Rules After Nasdaq Glitch

White will also convene a meeting with the leaders of the exchanges

(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White said late Thursday that while the technical glitch that paralyzed trading on the tech-heavy Nasdaq for hours was “resolved before the end of the day,” the incident was “serious.”

White said in a late Thursday statement that the malfunction should “reinforce our collective commitment to addressing technological vulnerabilities of exchanges and other market participants.” The SEC, she said, “is determined to enhance the safeguards necessary for strong market systems.”

White said she would “work to advance rules that the commission proposed earlier this year regarding new standards for the trading and other systems that are central to the integrity of our markets.” She said she would also “shortly convene” a meeting of the leaders of the exchanges and other major market participants “to accelerate ongoing efforts to further strengthen our markets.”

Nasdaq OMX issued a statement Thursday stating that it became aware that price quotes were not being disseminated by the Securities Industry Processor (SIP), which consolidates and disseminates all prices for the industry.

The exchange said it issued the halt in order to protect the integrity of the markets. Nasdaq said it wouldn't be canceling any open orders, but that customers could cancel orders if they wanted to.

"In the first 30 minutes, technical issues with the SIP were resolved," Nasdaq said. "For the remaining period of time, NASDAQ OMX, other exchanges, regulators and market participants coordinated with each other to ensure an orderly reopening of trading in NASDAQ-listed securities." 

Trading then resumed and the balance of the trading day finished in normal course, Nasdaq said. Nasdaq OMX said that it "will work with other exchanges that are members of the SIP to investigate" Thursday's technical issues, and that "we will support any necessary steps to enhance the platform."

Nasdaq resumed trading around 3:25 p.m. and closed up 1% at 3,638.71. Shares of Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ), however, fell 3.4%.

The technology malfunction echoed the sudden plunge in stocks in May 2010 that came to be known as the flash crash and the glitch-plagued initial public offering of Facebook last year.

The SEC charged Nasdaq in late May with securities violations resulting from “poor systems and decision-making” during the IPO and secondary trading of Facebook shares.

Nasdaq agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying a $10 million penalty — the largest ever against an exchange.

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