Internet giants lobby SEC over exchange data fees

Internet giants lobby SEC over exchange data fees

A coalition of some of the Internet's largest financial news sites, including Google and Yahoo!, is petitioning the Securities and Exchange Commission to review the fees that stock exchanges charge for market data.

The Washington-based NetCoalition has taken up the cudgels following a recent SEC authorisation of new market data pricing by the New York Stock Exchange and its electronic dealing arm Archipelago. Under the proposals Nyse/Arca will be able to levy a fee of $5 per month per user for real-time data feeds.

Markham Erickson, NetCoalition's executive director and general counsel, says: "If the Securities and Exchange Commission does not stay product approvals until the Commission can take a comprehensive look at the exchanges' efforts to eliminate access to real-time information, the SEC will be sending a signal that while the rest of the economy is already on the information superhighway, the financial services sector will moil along a dirt road."

The lobby group has questioned the Commission's rationale in approving the new fee structure. The SEC determined that the Nyse's pricing of the Arca Book data was "fair and reasonable" because the new proposed prices were lower than other similar products offered by Nasdaq.

In its 22-page petition to the regulator, NetCoalition states: "Determining that the Nyse/Arca fees are reasonable based on a comparison with the fees of another monopoly is problematic."

Electronic communications nework Bats has stepped into the breach, offering Google, Yahoo! and others free re-distribution of its real-time market data. Bats says that partly by offering its market data free, the ECN has grown to handle over 6% of Nasdaq Listed market share, up from nearly zero a few months ago.

Sales from market data accounted for about 9.5% of total revenue during the third quarter at Nasdaq and Nyse. About half of Nasdaq's $38.6 million in market data revenue in the quarter came from the sale of proprietary data.

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