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9月23日 华尔街日报——美国

(2008-09-26 08:53:38)
标签:

证券交易规则

报摘

财经

分类: 华尔街日报

美国证交会修改限制卖空规则招批评

 

 

国证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission, 简称SEC)周一表示,将修改三天前颁布的限制卖空规则。

SEC最新对卖空规则的修改让部分市场人士猝不及防,因此有批评声音称,SEC错误判断了其制定规则的影响力。

SEC在美东时间周一凌晨12:26发布的一份新闻稿中称,将修改它在上周五颁布的一项有关造市商在周五之后不能卖空金融类股的规定。根据周一修改后的规定,那些进行真实造市和对冲操作(包括衍生品合约)的造市商可以继续进行卖空操作。

SEC就修改后的规则解释称,此次调整的目的是为了允许造市商继续为市场提供流动性。为了防止空头利用造市商累积大量头寸,SEC规定,如果一家客户可以让造市商获得净额短仓,造市商就不能就这家客户作空。

SEC上周五还颁布了针对近800只金融类股的临时卖空禁令,对象包括那些造市商。在卖空交易中,投资者借入股票并卖出,待股价下跌后再以更低的价格买进。

SEC上周五还规定,对冲基金和基金经理必须在交易后的首个周一披露空头头寸。

按照周一新修改的规则,对冲基金仍需要向SEC披露空头头寸,不过SEC会在两周后才将这些交易公诸于世。SEC周一还宣布,它已经授权证交所来决定哪些公司应被禁止空头操作。

SEC上周五公布的卖空禁令名单中并未包括部分拥有大规模金融业务的公司,像通用电气(General Electric Co.)和瑞士信贷集团(Credit Suisse Group),而包括医疗保险公司在内的其他没有卷入金融危机的公司却被纳入到名单之中。

周一规则修改后,纽约泛欧交易所集团(NYSE Euronext)向在其交易所上市的公司发送电子邮件,要求它们对照SEC的标准确定自己是否应受卖空限制。美国本地和国外的银行、经纪商、投资公司或者此类机构的母公司均适用于SEC的这一规定。各公司也可以选择不受临时卖空禁令限制。

纽约证券交易所证交所在周一晚间新增了71家公司,包括通用电气、通用汽车(General Motors Corp.)、瑞士信贷、GLG Partners、加拿大帝国商业银行(Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)、美国运通公司(American Express Co.)、美盛集团(Legg Mason Inc.)和穆迪公司(Moody's Corporation)。Nasdaq OmX Group周一也在名单中新增了66家公司。

美国政府此次对待市场动荡的反应在很多方面都是史无前例的。SEC也一直承受着来自华尔街高层的压力,请求它采取行动遏制那些他们认为是拉低公司股价罪魁祸首的空头。

SEC交易和市场部门主管艾里克•斯瑞(Erik Sirri)表示,在SEC上周四晚间起草卖空禁令时,他们就知道未来会对规则进行修改,但想等到周末与市场人士商讨之后再修改。

斯瑞表示,SEC清楚临时卖空禁令的影响,禁令反映了在SEC权力的局限性、避免场外衍生工具市场出现大规模平仓的必要性、以及造市商合法对冲行为的需求之间的妥协平衡。

不过,SEC朝令夕改的作法也招来了批评,其中就包括共和党总统候选人麦凯恩(John McCain),他上周就曾说,SEC主席考克斯(Christopher Cox)应该被解职。

乔治城大学(Georgetown University)金融学副教授安琪(James Angel)表示,他们好像是一群业余选手,根本不知道自己在做什么。对卖空下达封杀令,不仅显露出了监管者的绝望,也这让人看清了这个事实:他们根本就没有想明白。

SEC周一匆忙修改规则引来了更多的批评。

曾在2002年至2004年担任SEC首席经济学家的哈里斯(Lawrence Harris)说,显然,今天进行的修改是为了弥补此前在对未来事件考量上的失误。SEC基本上是将监管权力授予了交易所,让交易所自己制定规则,这实在是一种非常不负责任的授权行为。

哥伦比亚大学商学院(Columbia Business School)金融学教授琼斯(Charles Jones)说,SEC只是从风险的角度决定市场需要一次暂停。我们很多人都想知道SEC到底是怎么想的,他们是否已经脱离了正轨?

SEC Revises `Short' Rules Already

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission said shortly after Monday that it would revise rules to curb short-selling that it had issued just three days before.

The SEC's latest change of direction on short-selling caught some market participants off guard and prompted criticism that the agency has miscalculated the impact of its rulemaking.

The SEC, in a release issued at 12:26 a.m. EST Monday, reversed a position it had taken Friday when it said that market makers couldn't short financial stocks after Friday. The new rules as of Monday: Those engaged in bona fide market making and hedging activity, including in derivative contracts, could continue to short.

'The purpose of this accommodation is to permit market makers to continue to provide liquidity to the markets,' the SEC explained in the revised order. To try to prevent short sellers from using market makers to take big positions, the SEC said market makers couldn't short for a customer if it would give them a net short position in the security.

Also Friday, the SEC issued a temporary ban on short sales in nearly 800 financial stocks, including those who make markets in the securities. In a short sale, investors borrow shares and sell them, hoping the stock will fall and they can buy it back at a lower price.

The agency said Friday hedge-fund and money mangers needed to disclose short positions the first Monday following the trade.

Monday's rules: Hedge funds still must disclose their positions to the SEC, but the SEC will not make the trades public until two weeks later. The SEC also announced Monday that it had delegated to the stock exchanges the decision about which company makes the no-shorting list.

The SEC's Friday no short-selling list left off some companies with large financing arms, such as General Electric Co. and Credit Suisse Group, while other companies not embroiled in the financial crisis, including some health-care insurers, were included.

The Monday change prompted NYSE Euronext to send blast emails to its listed companies asking them to self-identify themselves as fitting criteria laid out by the SEC. Companies that were U.S. or foreign banks, brokers, money managers or parent companies of such financial institutions would qualify. Companies could also opt out from the temporary ban.

The NYSE added 71 companies by Monday evening, including GE, General Motors Corp., Credit Suisse, GLG Partners, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, American Express, Legg Mason, and Moody's Corp. That list could grow. The Nasdaq OmX Group added 66 companies Monday.

The government response to the market upheaval has in many ways been unprecedented, and the SEC has been under pressure to do something from Wall Street chiefs, who were pleading for relief from short sellers they blame for driving stocks lower.

Erik Sirri, director of the SEC's trading and market division, said when the agency crafted the order Thursday night, they knew there would be amendments to the rule, but didn't want to craft them until after they spoke with market participants over the weekend.

Mr. Sirri said that while the SEC was aware of the implications the temporary short-sale ban would have, 'the rule reflected a compromise balancing the limits of our authority, the need to avoid triggering a close-out event in OTC derivatives, and the demand for legitimate hedging by market makers.'

But the agency's inconsistent response has opened it up to attacks -- including by Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who said last week that SEC Chairman Christopher Cox should be fired.

'It looks like we have a bunch of amateurs that don't know what they're doing,' said James Angel, an associate professor of finance at Georgetown University. 'To come out and say let's ban short-selling shows the desperation of the regulators, and it shows the fact that they really haven't been thinking things through.'

Monday's hastily revised rules prompted more critiques.

'Obviously, the amendments today are an attempt to remediate a failure to consider carefully what was going to happen,' said Lawrence Harris, a former chief economist at the SEC from 2002 to 2004. 'With the SEC basically granting its regulatory authority to the exchanges, they're basically asking the exchanges to write its own regulation. That's an extraordinarily irresponsible delegation of responsibility,' he said.

The SEC 'just decided from a risk point of view that we needed a time-out,' said Charles Jones, a finance professor at Columbia Business School. 'There are a lot of us out there who are wondering what the SEC is thinking, whether they've gone off the rails here.'

Kara Scannell

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