July 14, 2014 / 2:06 PM / 3 years ago

Wall Street trade group unveils market structure reform plan

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - A major Wall Street trade group on Monday called on U.S. regulators to consider adopting a series of reforms aimed at improving the transparency and resiliency of the U.S. equity markets.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, whose membership includes about 400 banks, brokers and asset managers, said its proposal should help to reduce some of the complexities in the marketplace and promote more investor confidence.

“The evolution of our equity markets has shown that there are aspects that should be improved or corrected, so that markets operate in a manner that supports fairness and stability,” said Curt Bradbury, the chief operating officer of Stephens Inc and the chair of the SIFMA Board’s Market Structure Task Force.

The changes SIFMA suggested Monday include reducing or eliminating so-called “access fees,” which exchanges charge brokerages that seek to access stock quotes and take liquidity away from the marketplace.

SIFMA also called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to eliminate regulatory requirements for brokerages to connect to trading venues that do not add “substantial liquidity” to the market, and to require brokerages to provide the public with better data about how they route customer orders.

SIFMA’s recommendations come at the same time that the SEC is working to craft a handful of equity market structure reforms.

In a recent speech, SEC Chair Mary Jo White said she planned to unveil rules to combat disruptive trading and promote transparency on how anonymous “dark pool” trading venues operate. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Susan Heavey)

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