Short sellers getting you down? Call an exchange exec

May 11, 2009

As if providing a trading platform, prestige and market data weren’t enough, stock exchanges are facing growing demands from the CEOs of their listed companies to help halt their stocks’ slide, BATS Trading CEO Joe Ratterman said at the Reuters Global Exchanges and Trading Summit on Monday.

Ratterman said he has been hearing of company bosses he calls “issuer-CEOs” giving the high-ups at rival exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, an earful when the stocks of those companies come under attack from short sellers.

“I had no idea of the power or influence they try to wield on exchanges executives with the market falling off and stocks falling down.,” Ratterman said. “CEOs have gotten involved and called my counterparts at Nasdaq and NYSE and said. ‘What are you doing to stop my stock price from falling?’”

Essentially, he said, companies are telling those exchanges, “You’re my lobby.”

That hassle may be one of the reasons Ratterman said BATS was not interested in competing with NYSE and Nasdaq for listings business, unlike Direct Edge, which last week filed to become a stock exchange operator and is considering going after the competitive new listings business.




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