stocks

FINRA and SEC Announce Tick Size Pilot Program

 

On October 3, 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”)’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Alert announcing a new National Market System (NMS) Plan that will implement a Tick Size Pilot Program (the “Pilot”) that will widen the minimum quoting and trading increment – sometimes called the “tick size” – for some small capitalization stocks. The goal of the Pilot is to study the effect of tick size on liquidity and trading of small capitalization stocks.

The Pilot has been implemented pursuant to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act which, among other things, directed the SEC to conduct a study and report to Congress on how decimalization affected the number of initial public offerings, and the liquidity and trading of securities of smaller capitalization companies.

Under the Pilot, the tick size will be widened from a penny ($0.01) to a nickel ($0.05) for specified securities listed on national securities exchanges (“Pilot Securities”). For some Pilot Securities, only quoting will need to occur in $0.05 increments, while for others, both quoting and trading generally will need to occur in increments of a nickel.

The Pilot will include a specified subset of the exchange-listed stocks of companies that have $3 billion or less in market capitalization, an average daily trading volume of one million shares or less and a volume-weighted average price of at least $2.00 for every trading day. There will be a control group of approximately 1,400 securities and three test groups, each with approximately 400 securities selected by a stratified sampling.

The Plot will run for a two-year period that will commence on October 3, 2016.

The data collected from the Pilot will be used by the SEC, national securities exchanges and FINRA to assess whether wider tick sizes enhance the market quality of these stocks for the benefit of issuers and investors—such as less volatility and increased liquidity.

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FSA Issues Final Notices to an Investment Banker and His Wife for Insider Dealing

On 31 May 2012, the FSA issued Christian Littlewood and his wife, Angie, with final notices prohibiting them from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity. Between 1998 and 2008, Mr. Littlewood was employed by the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Ltd. As a result of his employment he had access to inside information relating to securities. Mr. and Mrs. Littlewood used the inside information obtained through his employment to facilitate the placing of trades in eight separate stocks just prior to announcements to the market. As a result of these trades, Mr. and Mrs. Littlewood, together with a third party friend of Mrs. Littlewood (Mr. Sa’aid), made profits of around £590,000.

The FSA’s action follows the conviction of Mr. and Mrs. Littlewood for criminal offences of insider dealing in February 2011. Final Notice for Christian Littlewood. Final Notice for Angie Littlewood.