As Finra Prepares Review of Nasdaq’s Mistakes, Fears of Subjectivity

by Beth Connolly on June 19, 2012

Conlict of InterestNasdaq continues to make missteps in the controversy surrounding its mishandling of the Facebook IPO.

Following ire from market makers who say they lost a combined $115 million in the IPO because Nasdaq failed to execute orders quickly and kept traders in the dark about the amount of stock they held, Nasdaq offered $40 million in compensation. Most of it was in the form of coupons for future trades on Nasdaq.

This response only served to anger market makers further, so Nasdaq has invited Finra to review the situation.

But it seems that Nasdaq just can’t do anything right in this fiasco. Critics are now inquiring why the exchange would choose Finra, rather than the SEC, to do this job, when it’s clear that the relationship between Finra and Nasdaq poses a conflict of interest.

Finra and Nasdaq have a variety of close ties. Finra had an ownership interest in Nasdaq until 2006, and the regulator uses Nasdaq technology to power a compliance service it offers to member brokers. Further, Nasdaq actually subleases 115,00 sq. ft. of operating space at its downtown NYC headquarters from Finra.

Though most industry experts trust Finra’s impeccable reputation, the regulator will subject itself to likely legal action if it reaches an unpopular decision regarding Nasdaq’s response.

Analysis: Regulator seen conflicted in Nasdaq’s Facebook mess

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