I hinted at this before but I am going to spell it out explicitly in response to several questions I have received. There is already a restriction on naked short shelling. The restriction is called Regulation SHO.
II. “Naked” Short Sales
In a “naked” short sale, the seller does not borrow or arrange to borrow the securities in time to make delivery to the buyer within the standard three-day settlement period. 3 As a result, the seller fails to deliver securities to the buyer when delivery is due (known as a “failure to deliver” or “fail”).
Naked short selling is not necessarily a violation of the federal securities laws or the Commission’s rules. Indeed, in certain circumstances, naked short selling contributes to market liquidity. For example, broker-dealers that make a market in a security4 generally stand ready to buy and sell the security on a regular and continuous basis at a publicly quoted price, even when there are no other buyers or sellers. Thus, market makers must sell a security to a buyer even when there are temporary shortages of that security available in the market. This may occur, for example, if there is a sudden surge in buying interest in that security, or if few investors are selling the security at that time. Because it may take a market maker considerable time to purchase or arrange to borrow the security, a market maker engaged in bona fide market making, particularly in a fast-moving market, may need to sell the security short without having arranged to borrow shares.
III. Regulation SHO
Locate Requirement: Regulation SHO requires a broker-dealer to have reasonable grounds to believe that the security can be borrowed so that it can be delivered on the date delivery is due before effecting a short sale order in any equity security.6 This “locate” must be made and documented prior to effecting the short sale.
Here is the shorting curb list of the emergency SEC action.
BNP Paribas Securities Corp
Bank of America Corp
Credit Suisse Group
Daiwa Securities Group Inc
Deutsche Bank Group AG
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Royal Bank ADS
HSBC Holdings Plc ADS
JPMorgan Chase & Co
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc
Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
Mizuho Financial Group Inc
Who Is Missing?
Where is Washington Mutual (WM)? Wachovia (WB)? Were they tossed to the dogs?
What about Corus Bank (CORS), Bank United (BKUNA), National City Corporation (NCC)?
It is beyond all belief that naked short selling is affecting Goldman Sachs (GS) more than Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Corus Bank, Bank United, and National City Corporation.
One only needs consider all facts above to figure out what is going on.
Except for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that list contains the broker dealers and investment banks most responsible for naked shorting.
As long as the investment banks and brokers were making money engaging in naked shorting of stocks, there was no problem. However, when the bears began using the tactic against the big financials, it became time to selectively enforce the existing regulation.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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