U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Comments on Proposed Rule: Short Sales

http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/s72303.shtml

[Release Nos. 34-48709; File No. S7-23-03]

 

January 2, 2004 

Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549-0609

Subject:  File No. S7-23-03.

 “The Security Exchange Commission (SEC) administers and enforces the U.S. federal securities laws in order to protect investors and to maintain fair, honest, and efficient markets.”
 ( The above quote was taken from the web site  http://www.sec.gov/ )

A song lyric from the 1970’s stated, “Two out of three ain’t bad”. But with reference to regulatory enforcement by the SEC, it’s one out of three and it sure is bad. The trading of microcap companies is not fair and not honest. But, truth be told, it’s very efficient at allowing money to be stolen from the pockets of the investors.

The consumer, the investor, is the victim of a commercial fraud and if this were any other business, the brokerage house officials and the brokers would be in jail for fraud. I paid my money but where's my goods/chattels/stock and why can't I get timely delivery or any delivery at all? How did the brokerage industry get this “special” status and why are they exempt from the fraud laws? In the interest of plain, full and complete disclosure, shouldn’t every client opening a new brokerage account be given a prospectus letter detailing the fact that they in the future may be sold fraudulent shares?

History is proving that the SEC has become a Trade Association catering to the interests of its members, the brokerage industry, rather than to the interests of investors. As shown by the public record, the large brokerage houses penalized for wrongdoing pay a small fine without having to admit or deny the charges (the proverbial "parking ticket"),  and proceed with business as usual.

The SEC has now joined the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and the North American Stock Dealers (NASD) association to become the enemy of many public companies. Not because the public companies are crooked or looking to do anything dishonest, but because the SEC by their inaction regarding trading abuses, specifically naked short selling, have helped shave the dice to insure that honest speculation based solely on business risk is not possible. The companies and their shareholders not only have to fight their business environment but a dishonest public share market condoned by the SEC and run by the brokerage houses and their market makers. The SEC is a co-conspirator to consumer fraud and should be investigated by an independent United States Congress or Senate commission. To aid this purpose, we have started an on-line petition to allow the public a venue at http://www.investigatethesec.com/ to register their displeasure with the SEC and to aid the institution of an investigation into the SEC misconduct.

Its evident that the 1,000 or so lawyers working for the SEC, and writing the regulations regarding the market and short selling, have no brokerage experience and have never worked as a desk trader making market and running a pro trading account. The SEC therefore, with no experience at the job that they’re trying to regulate, is like a man telling a woman how she should feel during childbirth. 

Having spent many years as a broker for a full service brokerage house, and now as a director of a microcap company, I’ve witnessed first hand the hypocrisy of industry management covering up an employee firing offence for the expediency of profit. How can the public expect the SEC to oversee the honesty of the marketplace when not only does the SEC not know how the brokers play the game, they don’t even know what the game is?

To an outsider it’s obvious that the SEC hasn’t the interests of the public investor at heart. Daily they allow their friends at DTCC, NASD and the brokerage houses to tell them lies about what’s really going on inside the industry. And as recently seen, the SEC only gets active when outside pressure by politicians and people like Eliot Spitzer gets too great and pushes them into action. For a small public company, trying to work with the SEC to solve the current problems is like dealing with the hypocrisy of the pious or the arrogance of an Emperor without clothes.

How many SEC employees don’t do their job because:

6.      They’ve forgotten the mandate by which the SEC was created and under which they were hired;

5.     They have become too buddy-buddy with the people they’re supposed to regulate; 

4.      They, or their bosses, are cowards and don’t have the courage to do their job; 

3.      They’re incompetent, should be fired, but for various reasons can’t be kicked out; 

2.      They want to quit the SEC and go to work for the brokerage industry and don't want to bite the hand that's going to feed them in the future;

1.      They are being paid off and are corrupt. 

The SEC SHO rule changes are a band-aid for a gangrenous limb. They don’t go far enough for the future and certainly don’t address the problem of non-delivery of the naked short sale trades prior to 2004. What about all the previous “fail to deliver” trades? Are they going to be settled and if so, when? In addition, will there ever be a mechanism developed allowing a corporation to reconcile the true number of their shares issued with the number supposedly “owned” by investors?

Again, these proposed rules show a lack of courage by the SEC in their Trade Association coddling of the brokerage houses. They’re half measures, rule based and fall far short of instituting any meaningful change to the ethics by which the trading should be done. What happens to the client, the end purchaser, after all these changes? Is he better served? Will these rules stop the naked short selling abuse? Will his brokerage house “buy in” the client’s non-delivered purchases? I don’t think anything will change with these rules.

Having a brokerage license is a privilege, not a right. If the SEC has a brokerage house that doesn’t want to follow the proper short selling rules, why doesn’t the SEC, for example, restrict the brokerage house license for a day and only allow them to sell or short cover equity shares? Make the punishment hurt and fit the crime. If they abuse the rules again, restrict their trading for a week. And if they fail to learn their lesson, pull their right to conduct business in the financial markets forever. Their clients will be much better served moving their accounts over to a honest brokerage house. 

For specific responses to your SHO rule changes, I refer you to and support the comments of the November 21, 2003, SHO submission by H. Glenn Bagwell, Jr., Attorney at Law, reproduced below.

Sincerely,
"Russell K. Godwin"

 http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/s72303/hgbagwell112103.txt

 

November 21, 2003

Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549-0609

Re:  File No. S7-23-03   -    Regulation SHO

Dear Mr. Katz, Commissioners and Staff:

This letter is in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") request for comments on proposed Regulation SHO, which is intended to reform current short selling rules and regulations and, in part, to curb market abuses related to illegal "naked" short selling. As noted in the Background section of the Proposed Rule, "Congress gave the Commission broad authority to regulate short sales in order to stop short selling abuses" when it passed the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act").

Initial Comments.

Initially I would note that the SEC in general does a good job in regulating the securities markets in the United States. It is an enormous task, and without doubt the SEC needs additional resources, both financial and manpower, to fully police the securities markets. Recently, the SEC has been repeatedly upstaged by the Attorney General of the State of New York, who has in fact on numerous occasions publicly taken the SEC to task for certain failures to protect the investing public. The Attorney General of the State of Massachusetts and other state regulatory authorities are now beginning their own investigations in an effort to protect their citizens, a trend that I expect to continue as more and more market abuses of different types are revealed and the perception that the federal authorities are not policing the industry continues to grow.

History will show that the manipulation of the securities markets by "naked" short sellers (and those entities, both private and "quasi-public," that enable them) has been and is by far the largest financial fraud in history, with investor losses ultimately measured in trillions of dollars. A major public relations problem exists for the SEC because the SEC has known of these abuses for at least five years (see, e.g., the SEC's Concept Release No. 34-42037 (October 20, 1999), Section #7, to "Extend the Short Sale Rule to Non-Exchange Listed Securities") and to date has not taken action to stop or even limit these abuses, instead relying upon self regulatory organizations ("SRO's") such as the National Association of Securities Dealers ("NASD") to police their members. At the time of the said Concept Release, apparently the SEC relied upon the assurances of the industry that there was nothing untoward occurring, and any abuses that did occur were minor and could be addressed by the SRO's and the industry. Obviously these assurances were at best self-serving and misleading.

Because no one else has taken steps to curb these abuses, state regulators and trial lawyers will now seek redress. This process has begun in earnest, and will continue until resolution is achieved. However, the SEC in proposed Regulation SHO has the opportunity to take the lead in correcting this problem, if the SEC will promulgate an effective regulation that is clear cut, with no "wiggle room" for those who would use loopholes and gray areas to continue their abusive activities, and with sufficient penalties against violators to deter wrongdoing. The industry (including its SRO's) has demonstrated both its unwillingness to act in good faith and in the best interests of the investing public, and its inability to police itself.

The SEC must make the rules crystal clear, and make it clear to the industry that, as Mr. Spitzer said recently with respect to the mutual fund industry, violations "will impose pain."  Regulation SHO is a good first draft. The SEC in its comments has demonstrated its understanding of most of the issues, and has demonstrated that it is aware of what needs to be done, though the SEC appears to be reluctant to take some necessary steps, such as (i) actually requiring all trades to timely settle, even if it means the failing broker has to face a "buy-in" at whatever cost with respect to the unsettled trade, (ii) applying the new rule to market makers and specialists, who are-based upon their current behavior-likely to abuse any exemption, and (iii) applying the "uniform bid test" to all securities markets (instead of only exchange listed securities), and apply this rule to market makers and specialists, as well. I strongly urge the SEC to take the necessary steps and make the necessary changes to ensure that Regulation SHO is effective to accomplish the SEC's stated purposes therefore, and to fulfill the Congressional mandate in the Exchange Act to "stop short selling abuses."

Uniform Locate Rule.

In order for the SEC to "fully address the problems of naked short selling and extended fails to deliver," as stated under the SEC's Proposed Amendments, it is a very good idea to promulgate a "uniform 'locate' rule applicable to all equity securities, wherever they are traded." This is an absolute necessity if the SEC wants to minimize the egregious practice of "naked" short selling.

The SEC says the following:

"Proposed Rule 203 would prohibit a broker-dealer from executing a short sale order for its own account or the account of another person, unless the broker- dealer, or the person for whose account the short sale is executed (1) borrowed the security, or entered into an arrangement for the borrowing of the security, or (2) had reasonable grounds to believe that it could borrow the security so that it would be capable of delivering the securities on the date delivery is due."

I will address the problem with the second clause of Option no. (1) below. Option no. (2) creates unnecessary "wiggle room" for industry professionals, and they will in short order abuse it. Why is it necessary to give them this option? And who determines what "reasonable grounds" might be? What if the broker is relying upon its ability to "borrow" shares held-supposedly-in trust as a part of some "fungible bulk" held by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation ("DTC"), even though DTC has in fact already loaned out all or several times the number of shares it actually holds? Who is to be held responsible then for the artificially generated downward pressure that results? "Reasonable grounds" is not an objective standard and there are too many dishonest market participants who will take advantage of this proposed subjectivity to allow it, especially when the currently proposed penalties for non-compliance are so minimal.

I realize the SEC is proposing that clearing firms that process transactions enforce settlement, more or less, by providing for certain penalties. However there seems to be a glaring hole in this proposal. I elaborate on this below. The industry has demonstrated that its brokerage commissions and trading profits are more important than complying with the spirit, and in many cases the letter, of the current regulations.

I agree with the idea of the SEC's proposed "delivery requirement targeted at securities where there is evidence of significant settlement failures." But, it does not make sense to allow even these extended settlement failures in the first place. In other words, why are settlement failures ever permitted for extended periods of time, whether the industry deems them "significant" or not? Of course there are circumstances that result in settlement of a legitimate trade being held up for various reasons. For those occasions there are regulations that currently provide reasonable extensions of time to settle. But again, why would the SEC permit any settlement failure to exist for any extended period of time, unless to give the industry 'cover' for those times when they just can not resist a little market manipulation? How much time is really needed to settle a trade? Two weeks? Three weeks?

In any other industry, a failure to timely deliver a product bargained for and sold-and for which consideration is received-is a breach of contract. It is in the securities industry as well, but the victim usually does not know about it and his fiduciary (the broker) is often unwilling to enforce his client's rights against a fellow industry player, who might return the favor later. By permitting "naked" short selling, and allowing the resultant settlement failures, the SEC is in fact allowing the creation of an artificial increase in the supply of the victim company's securities. The fact that this results in an artificially lowered price is basic economics.

The SEC's "punishment" for a selling broker dealer that does not deliver a security within two days after the settlement date, is no real punishment at all. I quote from the Proposal:

"If for any reason such security was not delivered within two days after the settlement date, the rule would restrict the broker-dealer, including market makers, from executing future short sales in such security for the person for whose account the failure to deliver occurred unless the broker-dealer or the person for whose account the short sale is executed borrowed the security, or entered into a bona fide arrangement to borrow the security, prior to executing the short sale and delivered on settlement date. This restriction would be in effect for a period of 90 calendar days."

Where is the punishment here? Where is the deterrent? Why not require all players to "borrow the security, or enter into a bona fide arrangement to borrow the security, prior to executing the short sale," and "deliver on the settlement date" with all violations resulting in buy-in's and forfeiture of all profits on the transactions, with suspension or revocation of licenses for repeat offenders? I think the SEC should have the courage to give the proposed Regulation SHO some teeth. It makes no sense to say, in effect, "If you short sellers break the rule by too much, we are going to make you stop breaking the rules with your current victim (unless, of course, you use another broker to do so) and go find another victim to break the rules with-and at some point we may even make you obey the rules-but don't worry too much, we won't take your profits away in any event and we most likely aren't even going to make you cover your illegal short sales." Again, where is the punishment here? What is the risk for the violator? That he will have to stop short selling against his current victim, unless he follows the rules next time-or until he can get another broker on the phone? Just keep it simple. If the trade does not settle timely, after reasonable extensions, force the buying broker to buy-in the unsettled shares, and charge it back to the selling broker, who can pass it along to the manipulator (assuming it was not the broker or market maker in the first place). If the buying broker does not force timely settlement of a trade, have the clearing firm force the buy-in and fine the broker the first couple of times-as well as forfeiture of all profits on the trade-and thereafter, force the buy-in, seize all profits and suspend or revoke the broker's license. This will remove the brokers' incentive to cheat (or to allow cheating).

Further, and absolutely critically, unless the SEC is going to forbid the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation ("DTC") from loaning out shares that DTC does not have to lend (but "lends" anyway, creating phantom shares that are subsequently used to negatively affect the market for the victim security), "enter[ing] into a 'bona fide' arrangement to borrow the security" will be a non-event for DTC's participants.

To date there appears to be no interest at the SEC in curbing the activities of the ultimate enabling entity for market manipulation via "naked" short selling, which is DTC and its stock lending (better described as its counterfeiting and unregistered distribution) profit center. As long as DTC-supposedly a fiduciary, holding securities in trust for the owners and their representative broker dealers-is permitted to lend the same securities to multiple participants at the same time, charging fees to each participant, and all this without the knowledge or consent of the beneficial owner of the securities, market manipulation will occur. The SEC should bar DTC from lending securities. Period. Why should DTC be allowed to lend someone else's property, which DTC claims to hold in trust, without that person's informed consent, to a broker who is going to use the shares to try to diminish the value of the owner's same property-short selling against the rightful owner's financial interests-and thereby damaging the owner! It is unfathomable that the SEC would allow this to occur, all to the exclusive profit of DTC, its subsidiaries and its "participants" and to the clear detriment of everyone else. At the very least, forbid DTC from ever lending more shares of a security than it actually holds, require outside accountability, and require DTC to deliver the proceeds of such loans to the owners of the securities, not to the rightful owners' so-called "fiduciaries." This scam is unconscionable and must be stopped, and one way or another it will be stopped once the investing public finds out what is happening and how they are being victimized by this so called "Trust" and their so called "fiduciaries." It would be nice to see the SEC take the lead on this.

Again I emphasize, I see nowhere among the requirements listed in the "rules of the registered clearing agency that processed the transaction" the requirement that all non-settled trades actually be settled!  Why not, in addition to the penalties stated that the clearing agency is to impose on violators, require the violators to go into the market and purchase the securities they have illegally sold short, and surrender all profits from the trade?  Better yet, require the buying broker to inform his client of all settlement failures, and give the buyer the right to cancel any trade that does not timely settle. The fear of buy-in's and potential market losses therefrom will be a greater deterrent than the "penalties" suggested in the Proposed Rule. A NASD wrist slap obviously creates no terror for the industry, because today it does little if anything to deter the behavior of the violator or its peers; if this were not so, why would the same brokers and market makers get fined again and again for the same behavior?  A $10,000.00 fine and "censure" is not going to deter a broker or market maker that made $500,000.00 violating the rule for which it was "penalized." It is simply a cost of doing business, and a tax deductible one at that.

In summary, if the SEC truly wants to stop naked short selling, then require all short sellers to borrow the target securities prior to selling them, require them to settle the trades timely, and force them to buy-in the sale if they do not timely deliver, and forfeit all profits therefrom. This will be easy if the SEC requires the clearing firms to enforce it, because they know which trades settle and which don't, and they have the transaction information. If the SEC leaves the currently proposed loopholes in place, the practice of "naked" short selling might be lessened among the weaker manipulators who have to leave the game, but the major players-especially the market makers-will continue their current practices unabated.

Market Maker Exemption.

With respect to the proposed exemption from the rules for market makers and specialists, it is not appropriate to provide a blanket exemption to market makers engaged in "bona fide market making activity," unless the SEC can come up with a specific definition of the phrase and enforce the distinction between whatever "bona fide market making activity" is and the naked short-selling-based trading strategy that many market makers currently employ on a daily basis on the NASDAQ Small Cap, OTC and Pink Sheets markets (often collusively with other market makers in the classic "bear raid" scenario). Again, if the SEC gives these industry players "wiggle room," many will abuse it, as they do today. I realize the industry professionals who daily profit from such activities will loudly and strongly object to not having their "blanket exemption." If the SEC once again gives in to their demand for an exemption, I would suggest the following, with rationale included.

If it is true as the SEC has stated in its comments to the Proposed Rule that "most specialists and market makers seek a net "flat" position in a security at the end of each day and often "offset" short sales with purchases such that they are not required to make delivery under the security settlement system," and further that "extended failures to deliver appear characteristic of an investment or trading strategy, rather than being related to market making... it is questionable whether a market maker carrying a short position in a heavily shorted security for an extended period of time is in fact engaged in providing liquidity for customers, or rather is engaged in a speculative trading strategy," then the solution is rather simple:   require that market makers and specialists close out all naked short positions by the end of the trading day, or at the latest by the end of the trading day following the day on which they effect the naked short sale.

This will allow the market maker to practice its alleged "bona fide market making activity" while limiting its ability to "engage in a speculative trading strategy." This will not stop them from doing the latter, but at least it will limit the market manipulations to short periods of time. Acknowledging that they might quibble over the time limits to cover (same day, next day, three trading days, etc.), why would a market maker object to such a rule, unless its agenda is something other than bona fide market making? I realize the industry exerts great pressure on the SEC to see things "their way," but the SEC to restore its own credibility as the nation's securities regulator must put first the restoration of the integrity of the public markets and the protection of the investing public, and only then consider the desires of the industry. The industry will continue to make boatloads of money either way.

The SEC knows that the main concern of the industry is making money for itself, and this is perfectly fine, that is why they are in business. But the SEC must be willing to take the steps necessary to protect the public from industry abuse. Why take half-measures that do not achieve the SEC's stated goals for Regulation SHO and fulfill the SEC's Exchange Act mandate? If the measures prove to be overkill, then the SEC can later scale back its reforms to the extent it deems necessary. If the SEC is going to err, it needs to err on the side of protection of the investing public, not on the side of the industry and protecting the profits of the illegal short sellers and their enablers (DTC, et al.). Half-measures now will further weaken the SEC's credibility and will result in state regulators and private litigators having to step into the void to ensure the markets' integrity and punish those guilty of market manipulation, along with those guilty of aiding and abetting market manipulation.

Short Sales Disguised as Long Sales.

To quote in part the proposed rule: "Regulation SHO would extend the delivery requirements of Rule 10a-2 to all securities, including those traded over-the-counter. As with our proposal to apply borrow and delivery requirements for short sales in all equity securities, we believe it is equally important to apply long delivery requirements to securities with lower market capitalization that may be more susceptible to abuse." I absolutely agree with this modification, it is necessary and (pardon the pun) long overdue.

With respect to the second change proposed in Regulation SHO, "that a loan or failure to deliver is permitted if the seller has informed the broker-dealer that the seller owns the security and will deliver it to the broker-dealer prior to settlement of the transaction, but fails to do so." This is fine, and reasonable as far as it goes. But what about punishment for the dishonest seller? When will this trade be settled, and who will force settlement? Can the failure to deliver be carried forever, as they currently are by "naked" short sellers, so long as it is not under Regulation SHO deemed "significant"? I understand the notion of relieving an innocent or duped broker-dealer of liability for a time, but why should not the manipulator be punished? He should, indeed he must, if the SEC wishes to restore integrity to the markets. Make the criminals promptly buy-in the security at the market and settle the trade, whatever the cost, and forfeit all profits from the trade. Otherwise the SEC is allowing the dishonest seller to cheat the innocent buyer and allowing the markets to be artificially depressed as a result of the increased supply of securities (albeit counterfeit securities) entering the market.

In answer to the SEC's question, the delivery requirements in proposed Rule 203(a) are appropriate, except in addition to all other penalties and requirements there needs to be a provision requiring settlement of all trades within a reasonable time after the trade date, including those improperly labeled 'long sales,' and forfeiture of all profits associated with such trades. If nothing else, let the clearing firm keep the forfeited profits; that should encourage them to enforce the rules.

Uniform Bid Test

Proposed Rule 201 of Regulation SHO, which would replace Rule 10a-1's tick test with a test using the consolidated best bid as the reference point for permissible short sales, is a very good idea. But, if the SEC is interested in minimizing the market manipulation that routinely occurs on the NASDAQ Small Cap, OTC: Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets markets, the SEC must extend the bid test to all U.S. securities markets and exchanges, and apply it to all market participants. As was intimated by a number of Commissioners during the October 22, 2003, open meeting, there is no good reason not to extend the proposed bid test to all securities markets and exchanges. The only group that could possibly object to so extending it are those broker-dealers, market makers and other industry players that use the lack of a bid test to conduct daily "bear raids" on OTC and Pink Sheet stocks, and those who profit from such activities by their clients. Again I would ask, why would the SEC be satisfied with half-measures, when it has the opportunity to really curb these abuses? What reason is there not to protect investors in all U.S. securities markets?

The SEC says in the rule-change proposal: "We are not proposing at this time to extend the uniform bid test to securities not currently covered by a short sale price test (i.e., Nasdaq SmallCap, OTCBB, and Pink Sheet securities) in part because these markets have not been subject to the rule in the past." Is this really enough reason not to extend the uniform bid test, just because these markets were not previously subject to it? These markets were also not previously subject to the other rules and regulations the SEC is promulgating under Regulation SHO, either. This argument is not sufficient justification to continue to deny protection to the companies whose securities trade on these markets and are regularly victimized by "bear raids" orchestrated by naked short selling market makers, brokers and offshore funds of unknown origin or purpose.

The SEC continues: "More significantly, we believe that the proposed locate and deliver requirements may address many of the concerns regarding abusive short selling in thinly-capitalized securities trading over-the-counter. In particular, these proposals should significantly discourage efforts to deliberately depress the price of these securities by removing the leverage abusive short sellers enjoy through short selling without incurring the costs of borrowing and delivering." The phrases "may address" and "should significantly discourage" do not give one much comfort when dealing with known, demonstrated illegal manipulative activity on the part of the perpetrators. It does not sound as though the SEC truly believes the proposed locate and deliver requirements will be sufficient, either. There is no logical reason to withhold the additional protection the proposed uniform bid test would provide from these markets, which are the most victimized by far of all the U.S. securities markets. It is a simple act, it will impose no hardship on the industry other than to make manipulation a bit more difficult, and it will help curb some of the abuses targeted by Regulation SHO. Extend this minimal protection to all companies traded on any U.S. exchange or market.

Finally, the uniform bid rule should absolutely be applied to market makers and specialists, as well as everyone else on every exchange and market. If these market professionals are only engaging in "bona fide market making activity," then what reason is there for allowing them an exemption? Do they have to be able to drive prices down to do their jobs? To do what their trading competitors can not and thereby further increase their own profits? Again, the SEC should focus on protecting the investing public, not on helping the industry further increase its profits to the direct detriment of that same investing public. I respect everyone's right to make as much money as possible, but if government is to have any function at all it should be to ensure a level playing field for all the players, not just industry insiders.

Conclusion

Again I would like to commend the SEC for acknowledging the problems associated with "naked" short selling and settlement failures in the U.S. securities markets, and for putting forth a proposal to "curb these abuses." I strongly urge the SEC to fulfill its Exchange Act mandate and "stop short selling abuses" wherever they occur, by (i) requiring trades to timely settle, with forced buy-in's for failures to timely settle, whatever the cost and with additional real pecuniary and restrictive punishments for violators, (ii) applying the new rule to market makers and specialists, who are-based upon their current behavior-likely to abuse any exemption, and (iii) applying the "uniform bid test" to all securities markets (instead of only exchange listed securities), and specifically applying this rule to market makers and specialists, as well as everyone else.

The Proposed Rule and comments thereto indicate the SEC recognizes many of the problems. The SEC has the opportunity to do the right thing and put an end to these abusive and destructive practices. Please do it now, so that it won't have to be done again later after still more companies have been destroyed and still more investor wealth has been stolen by the market manipulators and their enabling industry partners.

Sincerely,
H. Glenn Bagwell, Jr.
Attorney at Law

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