June 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 179

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June 27, 2022

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SEC Proposes Monthly Short Sale Reporting Requirements: Aggregated Information to be Public; New Order Marking Requirements Detailed

The SEC recently proposed to require investment managers to report short sale information on a monthly basis if such activity exceeds certain thresholds (described below), and to require broker dealers to begin to mark “buy to cover” trades under Regulation SHO in addition to marking trading activity as “long,” “short,” and “short exempt.”  The definition of “investment manager” in the proposed rules would be the same as that applied for purposes of reporting on Form 13F.[1]  The proposed rules would not impact hedging positions that do not meet the current definition of “short sales.”  These proposals follow other recent proposals by the SEC to expand beneficial ownership reporting under Section 13(d) of the Exchange Act by non-passive investors to include cash-settled derivatives and to require reporting of large security-based swap positions. 

The SEC stated that the short sale reporting proposal seeks to balance its goal to enhance regulatory surveillance and market transparency of short selling activity in light of the trading activity involving GameStop equity and other perceived market disruptions with the hope that additional transparency will discourage rather than facilitate manipulative market practices or “copy-cat” trading. 

Under the proposal, investment managers that have investment discretion over accounts that exceed certain thresholds on short sale activity would have to comply with proposed Rule 13f-2 and new Form SHO to report short sale activity on a monthly basis in a form submitted confidentially to the SEC.  The thresholds that trigger a monthly filing are as follows:   

  • For any “equity security” of an issuer registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act or for which the issuer is under a reporting obligation under section 15(d) of the Exchange Act, where the investment manager’s short sale activity meets or exceeds either (1) a gross short position in the equity security with a U.S. dollar value of $10 million at the close of any settlement date or (2) a monthly average gross short position as a percentage of shares outstanding in the equity security of 2.5 percent or more; or
  • For any “equity security” of any other issuer where the investment manager’s gross short sale position meets or exceeds a gross short position with a US dollar value of $500,000 or more at the close of any settlement date.

“Equity security” includes securities convertible into equity securities but would not include short positions established through derivatives, and “gross short position” is calculated without regard to any offsetting long position. 

The information reported would include whether the position is fully hedged, partially hedged, or unhedged, as well as daily activity as of each settlement date during the month.  Reporting would be required within 14 days after month-end for any month in which a threshold had been exceeded. Significantly, while the filings made by investment managers would not be publicly available, the proposed rules would make aggregated information about short positions publicly available by the end of the month following the reported month.  The proposed rules would make the following information publicly available:

  • The issuer’s name and other identifying information related to the issuer;
  • The aggregated gross short position and corresponding dollar value across all reporting investment managers in the security at the close of the last settlement date of the relevant calendar month;
  • The percentage of the reported aggregate gross short position that is reported as being fully hedged, partially hedged, or not hedged; and
  • For each reported settlement date during the calendar month reporting period, the “net” activity aggregated across all reporting investment managers.

While information that is specific to any particular investment manager would not be publicly disclosed, it would be subject to a FOIA request. 

The SEC further proposed to amend Regulation SHO to add Rule 205 to require broker dealers to mark trades as “buy to cover” a short position in addition to the current order marking requirements.  The SEC also proposed amendments to the consolidated audit trail plan created pursuant to the requirements of Rule 613 of the Exchange Act to provide additional data on purchases to cover short sales as well as assertion of Regulation SHO’s bona fide market making exceptions.

We expect that many industry participants will be submitting comments to the SEC on these proposals, subject to a short comment period of 30 days following publication in the federal register or April 26.  The SEC appears to be on a fast track, and new rules could be expected as soon as the end of the year. 

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[1] As defined in Section 13(f)(6)(A) of the Exchange Act and for purposes of proposed rule 13f-2, “institutional investment manager” includes any person, other than a natural person, investing in or buying and selling securities for its own account, and any person exercising investment discretion with respect to the account of any other person.  The SEC explains that the term “institutional investment manager” typically can include investment advisers, banks, insurance companies, broker-dealers, pension funds and corporations.

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 82
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About this Author

Robert G Leonard, Proskauer Rose Law Firm, Private Investment Attorney
Partner

Robert G. Leonard is a Partner in the Hedge Funds Group. For more than 25 years Rob has been structuring, organizing and representing hedge funds, funds of funds and other private investment funds (both domestic and offshore) and investment advisers.

212-969-3355
Michael F Mavrides, Proskauer Rose Law Firm, Private Investment Attorney
Partner

Michael F. Mavrides is a Partner in the Hedge Funds Group. Mike focuses his practice on representing domestic and offshore hedge funds, funds of funds and other private investment funds, including private equity and real estate investment funds. He regularly advises funds and their managers on a wide variety of issues, including formation and structuring, seed capital, anchor capital and other strategic arrangements, placement agency, solicitation and other marketing arrangements, succession planning, separately managed accounts, and all types of portfolio management, trading and...

212-969-3670
Louis Rambo, Corporate Attorney, Washington DC, Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Associate

Louis Rambo is an associate in the Corporate Department and a member of the Capital Markets Group. He concentrates his practice on regulatory matters under the federal securities laws and advises companies on general corporate and transactional issues, including public disclosure, federal and state proxy requirements, debt and equity securities transactions, business combinations and corporate and board governance. Prior to joining the Firm, Louis served as an attorney in the division of corporation finance with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

202.416.6878
Christopher M Wells, Proskauer Rose Law Firm, Private Investment Attorney
Partner

Christopher M. Wells is a Partner and head of the Hedge Funds Group. Chris advises hedge funds, funds of funds and other pooled investment vehicles and their managers on all aspects of fund formation, operations and compliance.

212-969-3600
Frank Zarb, Corporate Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Partner

Frank Zarb is a partner in the Corporate Department, where he concentrates his practice on regulatory matters under the federal securities laws, as well as on U.S. and cross-border corporate transactions. He counsels public and private companies, as well as broker-dealers and other financial intermediaries, on a wide range of regulatory compliance matters, including public disclosure and preparation of periodic reports; the federal and state proxy requirements, shareholder proposals and other shareholder communications; stock exchange listing standards; and new laws and...

202-416-5870
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