On January 8, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a proposed order to improve the governance of National Market System (NMS) data plans that produce consolidated equity market data and disseminate trade and quote data. Currently, the equities exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (the Participants) together collect, consolidate and disseminate information regarding trades and quotes in NMS stocks pursuant to three separate national market system plans. According to the press release, “the current governance structure of these plans perpetuates disincentives to enhance consolidated equity market data feeds, which are often slower and contain less information than the proprietary market data feeds offered by the participants that control much of the voting power for the NMS plans.” The proposed order would direct the Participants to create a single equity data plan that would address these conflicts of interests between the exchanges’ commercial interests and their regulatory obligations to produce and provide consolidated market data.

The SEC also published for comment amendments to the existing NMS data plans to require mandatory disclosure policies with respect to conflicts of interest and to institute a confidentiality policy for certain data and information. Comments on the proposals must be submitted on or before 45 days from publication in the Federal Register.

The SEC’s press release regarding the proposed order is available here. The proposed order is available here.