I thought I would post this up as I was having a discussion with other members on a another baord and via PM. A common misconception and myth about taking a short position is that Brokers and Broker Dealers are not required to report such position and are also exempt from Maintenance Margin. This is completely false, in fact it came to such a point that both NASDAQ and FINRA had to define the word “customer” because of the nut cases contacting them about Brokers and Broker Dealers not being included in such reporting and margin. The word customer included them but because it is often perceived as meaning retail only, they had to add the definition in future updates.
This is a case where ignorance ran over common sense. NASDAQ and FINRA rules are interchangeable and are consitent with each other, FINRA borrows from NASDAQ and NASDAQ refers to FINRA.
I give you the NASDAQ Rule on Reporting:
3360. Short-Interest Reporting
(a) To the extent such information is not otherwise reported to the NASD in conformance with NASD Rule 3360, each member shall maintain a record of total "short" positions in all customer and proprietary firm accounts in securities listed on Nasdaq and shall regularly report such information to Nasdaq in such a manner as may be prescribed by Nasdaq. Reports shall be made as of the close of the settlement date designated by Nasdaq. Reports shall be received by Nasdaq no later than the second business day after the reporting settlement date designated by Nasdaq.
(b) For purposes of this Rule:
(1) "short" positions to be reported are those resulting from "short sales" as that term is defined in SEC Rule 200(a) of Regulation SHO, with the exception of positions that meet the following requirements:
(A) any sale by any person, for an account in which he has an interest, if such person owns the security sold and intends to deliver such security as soon as is possible without undue inconvenience or expense;
(B) any sale of a security covered by a short sale rule on a national securities exchange (except a sale to a stabilizing bid complying with Rule 104 of Regulation M) effected with the approval of such exchange which is necessary to equalize the price of such security thereon with the current price of such security on another national securities exchange which is the principal exchange market for such security;
(C) any sale of a security for a special arbitrage account by a person who then owns another security by virtue of which he is, or presently will be, entitled to acquire an equivalent number of securities of the same class as the securities sold; provided such sale, or the purchase with such sale offsets, is effected for the bona fide purpose of profiting from a current difference between the price of security sold and the security owned and that such right of acquisition was originally attached to or represented by another security or was issued to all the holders of any such of securities of the issuer;
(D) any sale of a security registered on, or admitted to unlisted trading privileges on, a national securities exchange effected for a special international arbitrage account for the bona fide purpose of profiting from a current difference between the price of such security on a securities market not within or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and on a securities market subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; provided the seller at the time of such sale knows or, by virtue of information currently received, has reasonable grounds to believe that an offer enabling him to cover such sale is then available to him such foreign securities market and intends to accept such offer immediately; and
(E) any sale by an underwriter, or any member of a syndicate or group participating in the distribution of a security, in connection with an over-allotment of securities, or any lay-off sale by such a person in connection with a distribution of securities through rights or a standby underwriting commitment.
(2) the term "customer" includes a broker-dealer.
2520. Margin Requirements
(a) A member that is not designated to Nasdaq for oversight pursuant to SEC Rule 17d-1 shall comply with the initial and maintenance margin requirements of Regulation T and the self-regulatory organization to which the member is designated for oversight pursuant to SEC Rule 17d-1. Members shall comply with Regulation T and such self-regulatory organization rules, and shall submit to such self-regulatory organization any filings required thereunder, in each case as if such rules were part of Nasdaq's rules.
(b) A member designated to Nasdaq for oversight pursuant to SEC Rule 17d-1 shall comply with the initial and maintenance margin requirements of Regulation T and the NASD Rule 2520 as if such Rules were part of Nasdaq's Rules.
(c) Nasdaq and FINRA are parties to the Regulatory Contract pursuant to which FINRA has agreed to perform certain functions on behalf of Nasdaq. Therefore, Nasdaq members are complying with Nasdaq Rule 2520 by complying with NASD Rule 2520 as written, including, for example, filing requirements and notifications. In addition, functions performed by FINRA, FINRA departments, and FINRA staff under Nasdaq Rule 2520 are being performed by FINRA on Nasdaq's behalf.
(d) Pursuant to the Rule 9600 Series, Nasdaq may exempt any member from the requirements contained in paragraph (e)(3) of NASD Rule 2520, as applied to Nasdaq members through Nasdaq Rule 2520, if the account referenced in paragraph (e)(3) of NASD Rule 2520 is confined exclusively to transactions and positions in exempted securities.
The term "customer" means any person for whom securities are purchased or sold or to whom securities are purchased or sold whether on a regular way, when issued, delayed or future delivery basis. It will also include any person for whom securities are held or carried and to or for whom a member extends, arranges or maintains any credit. The term will not include the following: (A) a broker or dealer from whom a security has been purchased or to whom a security has been sold for the account of the member or its customers, or (B) an "exempted borrower" as defined by Regulation T of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("Regulation T"), except for the proprietary account of a broker-dealer carried by a member pursuant to paragraph (e)(6) of this Rule.
The only exclusion given is if a Broker Dealer purchases or sells shares on behalf of a customers account, that is it.
Maintenance Margin Requirements:
The margin which must be maintained in all accounts of customers, except for cash accounts subject to other provisions of this Rule, shall be as follows:
(1) 25 percent of the current market value of all securities, except for security futures contracts, "long" in the account; plus
(2) $2.50 per share or 100 percent of the current market value, whichever amount is greater, of each stock "short" in the account selling at less than $5.00 per share; plus
(3) $5.00 per share or 30 percent of the current market value, whichever amount is greater, of each stock "short" in the account selling at $5.00 per share or above; plus
(4) 5 percent of the principal amount or 30 percent of the current market value, whichever amount is greater, of each bond "short" in the account.
(5) The minimum maintenance margin levels for security futures contracts, long and short, shall be 20 percent of the current market value of such contract. (See paragraph (f)(10) of this Rule for other provisions pertaining to security futures contracts.)