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28 Journal of Legal Studies 17 (1999)


New trading technologies are transforming securities markets, and with their rise have come important questions regarding the regulation of new and traditional trading mechanisms. This article provides a law and economics perspective on the regulation of alternative trading systems. We argue that alternative trading systems play a distinct role in the market and in particular solve the conflict-of-interest problem that exists between brokers and dealers. We propose a general strategy for their regulation that incorporates this economic role. We suggest a regulatory framework that permits providers of services to opt into particular regulatory frameworks as a way of fostering innovation and competition. The functional approach we outline is consistent with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulatory objectives of fairness, efficiency, and transparency of market transactions.

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