Trading & Markets Counseling

Murphy & McGonigle's Trading and Markets Counseling practice represents exchanges and other market participants in seeking regulatory approval for complex proposals and in otherwise advising as to execution and clearing regulatory structures in the U.S. equities and options markets. Our practice is distinguished by the sophistication of the projects our clients entrust to us and the rare blend of legal, regulatory and market expertise our attorneys bring to those projects. In particular, we advise exchanges, markets, trading firms, private funds, clearing firms, clearing agencies and their related entities, guiding them through the transformational change that globalization, technology, competition and regulation have brought to the entire market structure. Our attorneys draw on a depth of knowledge and expertise that has been shaped not only by decades of advising clients as outside counsel on trading-related issues, but also by service as senior market regulators and policy makers at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and substantial time spent in and around the securities markets. In their former lives, our attorneys have played leadership roles at some of the most innovative trading-related firms of the last decade. Our partners include a former proprietary trader and equity analyst, the former general counsel of an institutional broker operating a leading Alternative Trading System (Instinet), and the former President of an exchange-affiliated institutional broker-dealer (Archipelago's Wave Securities).

Our core areas of expertise include: complex equity or options market structure issues; short sale regulation; broker-dealer financial responsibility; securities credit regulation; securities lending; underwriting and securities analyst issues; issuer repurchases; transfer agents; Dodd-Frank Act provisions relating to securities-based swap dealers; broker-dealer liquidations; new trading programs and products and related requests for exemptions and no action relief; and the SRO rule filing process.

Looking Forward

Last year indeed proved to be a lively mix of issues and spirited discourse in the trading and markets space. In addition to the appointments of Hester M. Peirce and Robert J. Jackson Jr. to fill two vacant SEC Commissioner posts, Elad Roisman was appointed as a Commissioner to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Commissioner Michael Piwowar. The Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets (T&M) continued to tackle thorny issues, such as market data reform, the tick size pilot, transaction fees, and market quality for thinly traded stocks. FINRA and other SROs continued to focus on algorithmic trading, code development, and market access controls.

We expect to see more of the same in 2019. Commission rulemaking will continue to be leaner, less prescriptive, and more deferential to market forces. That said, we believe Commission rulemaking will be more procedurally constrained and more intensely scrutinized as a result of the recent change in control of the House of Representatives. Cybersecurity and FinTech issues will continue to receive a good deal of attention, and will likely continue to be key issues covered during regulatory examinations.