Corporate Governance

Best Execution Rules Need to Be Strengthened

CFA joined with Healthy Markets Association, Public Citizen, Consumer Action, and Americans for Financial Reform in calling on the House Financial Services Committee to adopt legislation strengthening the best execution rules under the securities laws. As the Committee has examined issues raised by recent events related to so-called “meme” stocks and the collapse of Archegos Capital Management, it has appropriately focused on the conflicts of interest associated with payment for order flow, and draft legislation has reportedly been drafted that would ban that practice. But banning payment for order flow, without also strengthening best execution rules will not fully achieve the desired market reforms, the groups wrote in their letter to the committee. The letter outlines four additional steps to protect investors and ensure that they actually receive best execution on their trades, including clarifying that brokers are required to seek best available prices, and not just the best available “protected quotation,” and revising execution disclosure rules to more accurately measure price improvement. “These reforms are essential compliments to a prohibition on conflicted order routing incentives for both off and on exchange trades, as they would directly ensure that brokers are truly looking after their customers’ best interests, and not their own bottom lines,” the groups concluded.