Notice to Members 99-12

NASD Regulation Issues Guidance Concerning the Operation of Automated Order Execution Systems During Turbulent Market Conditions

In light of the recent dramatic intraday volatility and significant surges in trading volume with respect to certain issues traded on The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (Nasdaq®), particularly Internet-based issues, NASD Regulation, Inc. (NASD RegulationSM) is issuing this Notice to Members to provide members guidance concerning the operation of their order execution systems and procedures during extreme market conditions. In sum, while National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD®) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules and regulations do not specify or mandate a particular order execution algorithm or procedure for the execution of customer orders (aside from requirements imposed by the NASD’s limit order protection interpretation), NASD Regulation believes that members’ best execution obligations require that such algorithms and procedures treat customer orders in a fair, consistent, and reasonable manner. In addition, to the extent that members (particularly wholesale firms) deviate from or alter their execution algorithms or procedures during turbulent market conditions, NASD Regulation believes that firms should consider disclosing such altered procedures and the basis for activating such altered procedures to their customers and firms sending them order flow.1 

Questions or comments concerning this Notice may be directed to the Legal Section of NASD Regulation’s Market Regulation Department, at (301) 590-6410.

1 Firms that direct order flow likewise have a best execution obligation to conduct regular and rigorous review of the quality of executions of orders sent to correspondent Market Makers.