The Wall Street trading practice known as “naked short selling” is destroying the American dream by threatening our economy while robbing investors, businesses, retirees, homeowners, and hard-working Americans of trillions of dollars and jobs. This illegal practice helped bring down our economy in 2008 and is a concern of all Americans—both Republicans and Democrats. We demand that the White House and members of the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee work with new leadership at the SEC and a new Congress to put an end to naked short selling, once and for all!
Why is this important?
Naked short sellers trade what amount to counterfeit stocks, bonds, mortgages, and other investments.* They profit by running down the value of investments, flooding the market with as many as one billion phantom shares a day. Hedge funds and some of the nation’s largest banks are a part of this widespread fraudulent practice. The predatory, illegal activity takes advantage of a gaping hole in regulations, left open by a lack of oversight of electronic trading that can often occur in microseconds. Regulations and actions at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have only served to make victims more vulnerable while letting the illegal predators off the hook.
Small businesses—the heart of the American entrepreneurial dream—have been the easiest targets, and naked short sellers have gotten away with attacking larger and larger companies, some of which were critical in the 2008 financial meltdown. But the dream of all Americans is hurt by naked short selling, from business owners to retirees, from homeowners to the now homeless, from workers to the unemployed or underemployed, and from retirees to their children and grandchildren. That’s because millions of American workers’ pensions, 401(k) savings, mortgages, and jobs have been the ultimate victims, and the entire financial capital structure remains vulnerable.
We, the American people, will not stand for it anymore!
It’s time to do something about bad Wall Street practices. The second Obama administration, new leadership at the SEC, and the new Congress must act. We call on the White House, legislators in both houses—including the Senate Banking Committee and the House Committee on Financial Services—the SEC and other regulators to immediately take all actions to stop naked short selling. Those actions should include, but are not limited to, the following:
—Halt any and all trading that allows the predatory practice of naked short selling, and institute a “pre-borrow” rule to ensure that short sales are covered;
—Create regulations that close all loopholes that allow or enable this practice;
—Develop the means to immediately identify, flag, and stop traders and institutions who are practicing naked short selling;
—Closely regulate and make transparent the institutions that execute and oversee the trading and clearing of stock, bond, and futures transactions, such as the Depository Clearing & Trust Corporation and hedge funds;
—Work with exchanges globally to stop this practice;
—Investigate, prosecute, and punish—at a level commensurate with the harm created—all traders and institutions that have and continue to practice naked short selling;
—Provide real compensation for victims, including companies, investors, and workers.
* Normally, short sellers borrow stock (or bonds, etc.) and sell it at market value. Then they wait for the price of the stock to go down and buy back the same number of shares. They return them to the original lender and make a profit on the difference in value. Naked short sellers sell fake shares that they fraudulently pretend to have borrowed, diluting the value of a company’s stock (or bond, etc.) from the get-go by flooding the market with additional fake shares. For more information about naked short selling, and to help spread awareness about this predatory practice, please see and share the film about its history and efforts to stop it. Trailer at http://thewallstreetconspiracy.com