Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a change to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 5210. The rule now requires member broker-dealers to implement and enforce policies and procedures “reasonably designed” to monitor and prevent “self-trading” activity. See SEC Release No. 34-72067.
The rule, in its amended form, is designed to provide FINRA with increased ability to monitor and limit the “unintentional” interaction of orders that come from the same firm. This issue is distinct from any self-trading that are the products of fraudulent or manipulative design. Rather, FINRA’s rule will attempt to limit the misleading impact that this unintentional self-trading has on marketplace data and trade volume of a security.
The rule change will place new restrictions on self-trading activity that occurs as a result from one or related algorithms or that originate in one or related trading desks. Self-trading, as used by FINRA, does not result in a change in beneficial ownership and may or may not be a bona fide trade. The agency believes that self-trading, even conducted without fraudulent or manipulative intent, may be disruptive to the marketplace and distort information on a given security. The agency points to data it has collected that show self-trading of this kind may account for five percent or more of a security’s daily trading volume.
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