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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Extending Its Program That Allows Transactions To Take Place at a Price That Is Below $1 Per Option Contract Until May 31, 2013

 

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May 17, 2012.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) [1] of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”) [2] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, [3] notice is hereby given that, on May 10, 2012, NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange” or “NYSE Arca”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. 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

The Exchange proposes to extend its program that allows transactions to take place at a price that is below $1 per option contract until May 31, 2013. The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Exchange, www.nyse.com, the Commission's Public Reference Room, and www.sec.gov.

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, the self-regulatory organization 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 those statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange 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

The purpose of this filing is to extend the Pilot Program [4] under Rule 6.80 to allow accommodation transactions (“Cabinet Trades”) to take place at a price that is below $1 per option contract to May 31, 2013. The Exchange proposes to extend the program for one year.

An “accommodation” or “cabinet” trade refers to trades in listed options on the Exchange that are worthless or not actively traded. Cabinet trading is generally conducted in accordance with the Exchange Rules, except as provided in Exchange Rule 6.80 Accommodation Transactions (Cabinet Trades), which sets forth specific procedures for engaging in cabinet trades. Rule 6.80 currently provides for cabinet transactions to occur via open outcry at a cabinet price of a $1 per option contract in any options series open for trading in the Exchange, except that the Rule is not applicable to trading in option classes participating in the Penny Pilot Program. Under the procedures, bids and offers (whether opening or closing a position) at a price of $1 per option contract may be represented in the trading crowd by a Floor Broker or by a Market-Maker or provided in response to a request by a Trading Official, a Floor Broker or a Market-Maker, but must yield priority to all resting orders in the Cabinet (those orders held by the Trading Official, and which resting cabinet orders may be closing only). So long as both the buyer and the seller yield to orders resting in the cabinet book, opening cabinet bids can trade with opening cabinet offers at $1 per option contract.

The Exchange has temporarily amended the procedures through June 1, 2012 to allow transactions to take place in open outcry at a price of at least $0 but less than $1 per option contract. These lower priced transactions are permitted to be traded pursuant to the same procedures applicable to $1 cabinet trades, except that (i) bids and offers for opening transactions are only permitted to accommodate closing transactions in order to limit use of the procedure to liquidations of existing positions, and (ii) the procedures are also made available for trading in option classes participating in the Penny Pilot Program. [5] The Exchange believes that allowing a price of at least $0 but less than $1 better accommodates the closing of options positions in series that are worthless or not actively traded, particularly due to recent market conditions which have resulted in a significant number of series being out-of-the-money. For example, a market participant might have a long position in a call series with a strike price of $100 and the underlying stock might be trading at $30. In such an instance, there might not otherwise be a market for that person to close-out the position even at the $1 cabinet price (e.g., the series might be quoted no bid).

As with other accommodation liquidations under Rule 6.80, transactions that occur for less than $1 will not be disseminated to the public on the consolidated tape. In addition, as with other accommodation liquidations under Rule 6.80, the transactions will be exempt from the Consolidated Options Audit Trail (“COATS”) requirements of Exchange Rule 6.67 Order Format and System Entry Requirements. However, the Exchange will maintain quotation, order and transaction information for the transactions in the same format as the COATS data is maintained. In this regard, all transactions for less than $1 must be reported to the Exchange following the close of each business day.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that this proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [6] , in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [7] in particular, in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, promote just and equitable principles of trade, remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. The Exchange believes that allowing for liquidations at a price less than $1 per option contract will better facilitate the closing of options positions that are worthless or not actively trading, especially in Penny Pilot issues where Cabinet Trades are not otherwise permitted.

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

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose 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

No written comments were solicited or received with respect to the proposed rule change.

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

The Exchange has filed the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(iii) of the Act [8] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder. [9] 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 [10] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) thereunder. [11]

A proposed rule change filed under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) [12] normally does not become operative for 30 days after the date of filing. However, pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) [13] the Commission may designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The Exchange 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 operative delay as of June 1, 2012 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 on June 1, 2012. [14]

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

  • Use the Commission's Internet comment form

(http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

  • Send an email to rule-comments@sec.gov. Please include File No. SR-NYSEArca-2012-43 on the subject line.

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-NYSEArca-2012-43. 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-NYSEArca-2012-43 and should be submitted on or before June 13, 2012.

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority. [15]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

[FR Doc. 2012-12438 Filed 5-22-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P

Footnotes Back to Top

1. 15 U.S.C.78s(b)(1).

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4. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 63476 (December 8, 2010), 75 FR 77930 (December 14, 2010) (SR-NYSE Arca-2010-109).

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5. Currently the $1 cabinet trading procedures are limited to options classes traded in $0.05 or $0.10 standard increment. The $1 cabinet trading procedures are not available in Penny Pilot Program classes because in those classes an option series can trade in a standard increment as low as $0.01 per share (or $1.00 per option contract with a 100 share multiplier). Because the temporary procedures allow trading below $0.01 per share (or $1.00 per option contract with a 100 share multiplier), the procedures are available for all classes, including those classes participating in the Penny Pilot Program.

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8. 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(iii).

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11. 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) requires the Exchange to give the Commission written notice of the Exchange's 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. The Exchange has satisfied this requirement.

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13. 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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

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