DEFINITION of 'Backing Away'

Failure by a market maker in a security to honor the quoted bid and ask prices for a minimum quantity. Backing away constitutes a serious violation of industry regulations. NASD Regulation Inc uses an automated market surveillance system to enable the resolution of backing-away complaints in real time.

BREAKING DOWN 'Backing Away'

Backing away constitutes a breach of SEC Rule 11Ac1-1 or the firm quote rule, which requires a market maker to execute an order presented to it at a price at least as favorable as its published quotation, up to its published quotation size. A potential backing-away complaint has to be brought to the attention of the Market Regulation Department within five minutes of the alleged offense. Otherwise, it may be difficult for department staff to obtain a contemporaneous trade execution from the market maker.

NASD Regulation does not pursue immediate disciplinary action for an individual backing-away complaint where a contemporaneous trade execution from the market maker is obtained or offered. However, department staff keep a record of such transgressions, and repeated non-compliance with the firm quote rule could result in disciplinary action.

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