In mid-2004 the Securities & Exchange Commission (itself a kind of a joint venture of the US federal government and Wall Street) adopted Regulation SHO. Among other things, “Reg SHO” insisted that exchanges publish the names of firms being victimized by naked short selling. They left plenty of loopholes (grandfathering, offshore failures, option market making abuse) and used lots of weasel-words to say it, and courteously stipulated no penalties for failing to follow the rules, and gave everybody until January 2005 to figure out new ways around them, but tepid though these measures were, curtailing naked short selling was their basic thrust.
This graph registers the daily total of companies appearing on the Reg SHO list.
I have maintained all along that naked short selling was not a hard problem to solve: it was just a hard problem to solve without seeing about 20 rich guys get their asses handed to them. And because they were rich and well-connected, efforts to persuade the federal government to enforce the law were stopped dead in their tracks.
Somewhere in the middle of 2008, after the horses bolted from the barn, the barn collapsed, the barn burned, and the barn’s ashes scattered to the four winds, the federal government decided to close the barn door. They enacted a subset of the reforms which Deep Capture and a handful of other activists had been suggesting for a few years. The data suggests those reforms are working. I would not stake money on the likelihood that this means much, but hope springs eternal….