By Curt Bradbury and Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr.
In the following op-ed, originally published in the New York Times' DealBook, Curt Bradbury, Chief Operating Officer, Stephens Inc. and Chairman of SIFMA's board-level Market Structure Task Force, and Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., SIFMA's President and CEO, share task force recommendations developed with the goal of enhancing transparency, providing fair and timely access to market data, and addressing the complexity and fragmentation caused by rebates and order types.
The United States has the deepest and most liquid stock market in the world. Over the last decade, regulation, technological advancements and competition have created an equity market structure that is easier to access and far more affordable for investors, including retail investors. The result is a strong market system that helps Americans achieve financial security and provides companies with access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs.
These same factors that have benefited investors – technology, regulation, and competition – have also led to a market structure that is increasingly complex and fragmented. Much of the focus has been on speed of trading, the product of technological innovation. And while the markets are most certainly not “rigged,” and unquestionably less expensive in terms of commissions and spreads, this complexity and fragmentation has resulted in disparate treatment that is undermining investor trust and confidence. Failure to address declining trust will ultimately undermine the market itself.
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