Even the SEC is finding it hard to keep up with the SEC…

September 22, 2008

If you’re finding it hard to keep on top of all the announcements coming out of the SEC these days, you’re not alone. Apparently, the SEC is also having some difficulty, judging by the fact that their last Twitter entry was Friday morning at around 5:37 am, when they announced an array of new rules regarding short selling. As we footnoted last month, Twitter is designed to provide mini updates, so that people who don’t have time to read a whole blog post (or press release) can be kept in the know. But apparently, the folks at the SEC are realizing that Tweeting still takes time away from the real work that has to be done.

Late Friday, in its fourth press release that day, the SEC announced an investigation that will include subpoenas and testimony under oath. On Saturday, there were two more releases — one on Barclay’s acquisition of Lehman’s assets and a second designed to address investors’ concerns over events of the past week. Yesterday, the company revised the rules it put out Friday morning on disclosure of short positions, giving investment managers who filed a 13-F as of June 30, some additional time to keep their positions out of the public eye. Under the change, the forms are still due today at 5:30, but will remain out of the public domain for another two weeks. Then, this morning, there was yet another change to Friday’s speedy rule-making: “However, this exception now requires that, for new positions, a market maker may not sell short if the market maker knows a customer or counterparty is increasing an economic net short position in the shares of the Included Financial Firm.”

While we don’t know for sure, we’re pretty sure that the sudden change of heart on the part of the SEC was prompted by attorneys who represent various hedge funds and other market participants spending the weekend speed-dialing the SEC. The lesson here is that haste not only makes waste. It also makes it too hard to keep up with the Twitter.

UPDATE 2:30 est Looks like the SEC’s caught up with its Twitter updates.

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