U.S. SEC to vote on proposals that could overhaul Wall St. trading

Raindrops hang on a sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will vote on whether to propose some of the biggest changes to the American equity markets in nearly two decades at a Dec. 14 meeting, the agency said on Wednesday.

The potential changes include new rules that would require marketable retail stock orders to be sent to auctions before they are executed, a new standard for brokers to show they get the best possible executions for client orders, and lower trading increments and access fees on exchanges, the SEC said.

"It's about driving greater competition, transparency and efficiency and the marketplace," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

The changes, if adopted, would represent the biggest shake up to stock market rules since the SEC introduced Regulation National Market System in 2005, which was aimed at modernizing and enhancing an increasingly fragmented and largely electronic marketplace.

The regulator will also consider whether to propose requiring brokers to provide more information on the quality of their customer trades, and requiring more firms to file the order execution reports.

Gensler has said he would like to see more order-by-order competition for individuals' stock orders, and for a more even playing field between stock exchanges, which display customer interest, and broker-run venues, which mostly do not.

Currently, retail brokerages send most marketable customer orders directly to wholesale brokers to be executed, as long as the broker is matching or bettering the best price available on U.S. exchanges. Large market-makers typically improve on the best price by a fraction of a cent. Gensler has criticized this model as limiting competition for retail orders.

If the SEC votes to propose the changes, they will be put up for public comment before the regulator votes on whether to adopt them.

Reporting by John McCrank; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; editing by Diane Craft

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