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US stock markets unveil new IPOcalypse-BUSTERS to watchdogs

New rules to help combat IT glitches in share trading

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US stock exchanges have said that they’ve figured out how to help stop technical trading glitches, following orders from regulators to come up with new rules after trading on the NASDAQ ground to a halt for three hours in August.

Market operators including NYSE Euronext and NASDAQ OMX said they had agreed on certain proposals and put together a timetable for implementing changes that will help to protect their IT infrastructure, including securities information processors (SIPs) and the mechanisms for IPOs.

The NASDAQ has suffered through a number of trading hiccups in the last year or so, including the trading outage in August, another at the end of last month and, most famously, the Facebook IPOcalypse, when problems with its systems stopped some trades in the new stock from being properly recorded and delayed others.

The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the markets to come up with reforms to counter future problems in a meeting in September. The SEC said it wanted to see operators install a kill switch common to all of them to stop trading during glitches and better testing and disaster recovery for SIPs.

The exchanges didn't give out any details about the proposals, saying that they would be revealed in future filings with self-regulatory organisations and would be subject to approval from the SEC.

SEC chair Mary Jo White told the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in New York that the commission and the operators had “made very good progress”, Reuters reported.

"Our objective has to be zero tolerance [on errors]. I think we all know that technology is never going to be perfect," she said. ®

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