Rule 10b-6 was a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation aimed at preventing stock manipulation. It prohibited issuers from buying shares before their public distribution to avoid artificial price inflation. The rule was later replaced by Regulation M in March 1997, which served a similar purpose.
Prohibiting issuers from purchasing shares before the public distribution was complete, Rule 10b-6 was a regulation by the SEC that served to curb stock manipulation. The rule's main goal was to prevent artificial price inflation caused by bidding on shares not yet available to the public. By implementing this regulation, the SEC aimed to create a level playing field for investors, brokers, dealers, issuers, and underwriters concerning newly issued shares.
The SEC announced the replacement of Rule 10b-6 and other related rules with Regulation M in 1996. The new regulation, effective from March 4, 1997, continued the mission of guarding against market manipulation and ensured fair market practices in the securities industry.
How Does Rule 10b-6 Work?
Rule 10b-6 stopped broker-dealers and underwriters with advanced knowledge of a new issue from investing in it before the public. The rule specifically barred bidding and purchasing for anyone who had reasonable cause to believe they would be part of the security's distribution. Once a person gained inside information of this nature, they fell under the rule's provisions.
Brief History of Rule 10b-6
When initially proposed, Rule 10b-6 generated controversy, with many expressing dissenting views during the official public comment phase of the rulemaking process. The vagueness of the wording and uncertainty about determining "insider information" related to the public offering's status and progress were the main points of contention. Some suggested resolving the issue by setting a specific point in time before distribution for trading to cease.
Finance Industry Concerns
The finance industry was concerned about the difficulty of identifying those to whom the prohibition applied, as the rulemaking commission had not initially granted the power to make exceptions. The listed exemptions under Rule 10b-6 did not allow for normal trading continuation, even if it wouldn't directly impact the security's price.
Final Version of Rule 10b-6
The final version of Rule 10b-6, adopted on July 5, 1955, addressed some of the criticism by focusing on market activities during a public offering, prohibiting only bidding and purchasing in both exchange and over-the-counter (OTC) transactions. Later revisions allowed the SEC to grant exemptions as needed.
Replacement of Rule 10b-6 With Rule M
Rule M, which consists of six distinct rules (Rule 100, Rule 101, Rule 102, Rule 103, Rule 104, and Rule 105), replaced Rule 10b-6, Rule 10b-6a, Rule 10b-7, Rule 10b-8, and 10b-21 in 1996, as announced by the SEC. These rules address different aspects of trading and the involved parties, covering definitions, activities of broker-dealers and underwriters in distributions, issuers and selling security holders, oversight for Nasdaq passive market making, stabilization transactions and post-offering activities by underwriters, and oversight of short selling related to public offerings, respectively. Rule M aims to streamline and regulate various trading activities to ensure fair practices in the securities industry.
Rule 10b-6 was a regulation aimed at preventing stock manipulation by prohibiting issuers from buying shares before their public distribution. It was later replaced by Regulation M, which continued the mission of guarding against market manipulation and ensuring fair market practices in the securities industry.