December 8, 2006
Nasdaq is raising its fees and tying in new services (market data distribution) to the fee increase. Customers are complaining about the increase and competitors in the data distribution business are complaining about "tying", an antitrust violation. The SEC will decide whether Nasdaq can raise its fees. Great. The agency has what is wants -- it has created a regulated utility type oversight function -- it has put itself in the cat bird seat of a state utility commission. We should not have allowed it. Competitive trading markets, not trading markets as regulated utilities, would have been a far preferrable system. The SEC has worked years to get into this position and it is almost there. To reverse the trend, the SEC should tell trading markets they can charge whatever they want within traditional antitrust rules. Customers who do not like the fees can trade elsewhere.
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