WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. securities regulator said that she is taking steps aimed at making trading in the bond markets more transparent for investors.
Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said Friday that technology and competition have benefited and transformed the stock market. But she says they have not yet had the same effect in the bond markets.
She said trading in the $11.3 trillion market in corporate bonds and the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market continue to be dominated by big Wall Street firms, making it hard for investors to know whether they are being charged reasonable fees.
Her comments came in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.
White said she is working with other market regulators on how to use technology to make bond trading and prices clearer for the public.
“We must take steps to ensure that the benefits of technological advances are realized by all investors” in the bond markets, White said.
It’s especially important now for the fees investors are charged to be clearly disclosed, she noted, since interest rates are at historically low levels and fees on bond trades can take a large bite out of investors’ returns.
White’s remarks came about two weeks after she announced a plan to address growing concerns about the impact on the stock market of high-speed computerized trading, which now accounts for a majority of stock trading volume. She outlined new rules that aim to boost market stability and fairness, increase transparency and improve markets for smaller companies.