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In update, Nasdaq explains all to clients ... kind of

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Nasdaq OMX has sent a letter to its listed clients. It's a mixture of an update and partial mea culpa as officials continue to address the shutdown of the SIP (security information processor, the network that carries the quotes and trades for the Nasdaq) last Thursday.

"It is clear that these systems could be more robust in their support of markets given the complex ecosystem in which we operate today," the Nasdaq wrote. "We are reviewing additional enhancements and potential design changes to further strengthen the SIP resiliency."

The company is also releasing a statement titled "Our Commitment to Transparency," where it commits to "providing you with information as we know it."

Unfortunately, there is precious little new information in the letter. What happened?

They are sticking to their original contention: "The cause of the SIP failure has been identified as a connectivity issue between an exchange participant and the SIP which consumed and exhausted computing resources and eliminated the ability of the SIP to disseminate consolidated quotes and trades."

In other words, a brief breakdown in an NYSE matching engine, which tried multiple times to reconnect to the SIP, was the source of the problem. I reviewed these issues in a prior Trader Talk note.

Here is a link to the "Our Commitment to Transparency" statement.

Below is the text of the letter NASDAQ sent to its clients.

To Our Listed Clients,

As you are aware, on Thursday, August 22, 2013 we halted trading in NASDAQ equities and options after experiencing a problem with quote data we supply to the industry through our Unlisted Trading Privileges Securities Information Processor, or UTP SIP.

The cause of the SIP failure has been identified as a connectivity issue between an exchange participant and the SIP which consumed and exhausted computing resources and eliminated the ability of the SIP to disseminate consolidated quotes and trades.

We pride ourselves on the reliability and up time of our market systems and nobody is more disappointed than we are about these events. It is not acceptable to NASDAQ, our issuers, our members and the investing public. We recognize this was disruptive and are in the process of working with the industry and all of our partners to make sure this event does not occur again.

While this event was disappointing for all involved, it did offer several important lessons. In the coming weeks, we will be working with regulators, members and our partners to conduct a thorough forensic analysis on what happened, as well as identifying which areas we can further enhance our systems. It is clear that these systems could be more robust in their support of markets given the complex ecosystem in which we operate today. We are reviewing additional enhancements and potential design changes to further strengthen the SIP resiliency.

One of the lessons we learned is that we need to communicate better. One of our first actions was to develop a more comprehensive plan and set of principles for how we intend to communicate with you going forward. We strive to provide our clients with the highest levels of support, service and collaboration. We are focused on improving our level of overall commitment and customer engagement. The attached is just a first step in this effort and we welcome your feedback and input.

We also want to take this opportunity to remind you that NASDAQ's Market Intelligence Desk (MID) is a central hub for real-time trading information about your stock as well as key market and economic news. There is more information about the MID and the important service they provide for all of our issuers in the attachment.

Please review the attached important information. If you would like to include additional colleagues to receive updates from NASDAQ OMX, please let us know at the following email address (email address redacted by CNBC).

Again, we regret that any of our listed companies and customers were adversely affected by the issues we experienced or the lack of transparency on our part. It certainly was not our intention.

We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Sincerely,


Bruce Aust

Executive Vice President

Global Corporate Client Group


Robert McCooey

Senior Vice President

Global Corporate Client Group

By CNBC's Bob Pisani

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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