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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Effective Date of the Trading Pause Pilot

 

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January 30, 2012.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”), [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, [2] notice is hereby given that on January 24, 2012, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change Back to Top

FINRA is proposing to amend FINRA Rule 6121 (Trading Halts Due to Extraordinary Market Volatility) to extend the effective date of the pilot, which is currently scheduled to expire on January 31, 2012, until July 31, 2012.

The text of the proposed rule change is available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change Back to Top

In its filing with the Commission, FINRA included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. FINRA has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant parts of such statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and the Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

FINRA proposes to amend FINRA Rule 6121.01 to extend the effective date of the pilot by which such rule operates, which is currently scheduled to expire on January 31, 2012, until July 31, 2012.

FINRA Rule 6121.01 provides that if a primary listing market has issued an individual stock trading pause under its rules, FINRA will halt trading otherwise than on an exchange in that security until trading has resumed on the primary listing market. The pilot was developed and implemented as a market-wide initiative by FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations (“SROs”) in consultation with Commission staff, and is currently applicable to all NMS stocks (other than rights and warrants) and specified exchange-traded products covered by the trading pause pilot rules of a primary listing market. [3]

The extension proposed herein would allow the pilot to continue to operate without interruption while FINRA, the other SROs and the Commission further assess the effect of the pilot on the marketplace or whether other initiatives should be adopted in lieu of the current pilot.

FINRA has filed the proposed rule change for immediate effectiveness and has requested that the SEC waive the requirement that the proposed rule change not become operative for 30 days after the date of the filing, such that FINRA can implement the proposed rule change immediately.

2. Statutory Basis

FINRA believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, [4] which requires, among other things, that FINRA rules must be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. FINRA believes that the proposed rule change meets these requirements in that it promotes uniformity across markets concerning decisions to pause trading in a security when there are significant price movements.

Additionally, extension of the pilot to July 31, 2012 would allow the pilot to continue to operate without interruption while FINRA, the other SROs and the Commission further assess the effect of the pilot on the marketplace or whether other initiatives should be adopted in lieu of the current pilot.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

FINRA does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action Back to Top

FINRA has filed the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(iii) of the Act [5] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder. [6] Because the proposed rule change does not: (i) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative prior to 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [7] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) thereunder. [8]

A proposed rule change filed under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) [9] normally does not become operative for 30 days after the date of filing. However, pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) [10] the Commission may designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. FINRA has asked the Commission to waive the 30-day operative delay so that the proposal may become operative immediately upon filing.

The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, as it will allow the pilot program to continue uninterrupted, thereby avoiding the investor confusion that could result from a temporary interruption in the pilot program. For this reason, the Commission designates the proposed rule change to be operative upon filing. [11]

At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

IV. Solicitation of Comments Back to Top

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File No. SR-FINRA-2012-006. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-FINRA-2012-006 and should be submitted on or before February 24, 2012.

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority. [12]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

[FR Doc. 2012-2403 Filed 2-2-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P

Footnotes Back to Top

3. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 65819 (November 23, 2011), 76 FR 74105 (November 30, 2011) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of File No. SR-FINRA-2011-068).

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5. 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(iii).

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8. 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) requires FINRA to give the Commission written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change along with a brief description and text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission. FINRA has satisfied this requirement.

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10. 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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11. For purposes only of waiving the 30-day operative delay, the Commission has also considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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