Naked short selling stocks has unlimited risk. The seller does not borrow or arrange to borrow the securities in time to make delivery to the buyer within the standard three-day settlement period. 3 As a result, the seller fails to deliver securities to the buyer when delivery is due is known as a "failure to deliver" or "fail."
Failures to deliver may result from either a short or a long sale. There may be legitimate reasons for a failure to deliver. For example, human or mechanical errors or processing delays can result from transferring securities in physical certificate rather than book-entry form, thus causing a failure to deliver on a long sale within the normal three-day settlement period. A fail may also result from naked short selling. For example, market makers who sell short thinly traded, illiquid stock in response to customer demand may encounter difficulty in obtaining securities when the time for delivery arrives.
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