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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change by the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc. Rescinding Chapter II, Section 23, Dealings on Other Exchanges, or Publicly Outside the Exchange

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Start Preamble April 10, 2000.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on March 9, 2000, the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Exchange” or “BSE”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission” or “SEC”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III 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.

The Exchange's proposed rule change raises issues similar to those raised by the New York Exchange's (“NYSE”) proposal to repeal NYSE Rule 390, which rule generally prohibits NYSE members and their affiliates from effecting transactions in certain NYSE-listed securities away from a national securities exchange. The Commission recently issued the notice of filing for the NYSE's proposal (“NYSE Notice”) and solicited comment on a number of important issues that have broad implications for the structure of the U.S. securities markets.[3] Specifically, the Commission requested comment on market fragmentation—the trading of orders in multiple locations without interaction among those orders—and on several options for addressing market fragmentation. To promote a comprehensive discussion of off-boarding trading restrictions and related market fragmentation issues, the Commission requests that persons interested in the Exchange's proposal refer to the NYSE Notice and submit comments that respond to the questions presented in the NYSE Notice.[4]

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

The Exchange proposes to rescind Chapter II, Section 23, “Dealings on Other Exchanges or Publicly Outside the Exchange,” which will remove the Exchange's off-board trading restrictions. The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Exchange and at the Commission.

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

In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange 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. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

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

1. Purpose

The Exchange proposes to rescind its restrictions on off-board trading under Start Printed Page 20498Chapter II, Section 23, “Dealings on Other Exchanges or Publicly Outside the Exchange.” Originally, Chapter II, Section 23 prohibited Exchange members from trading over-the-counter in certain securities. Off-board trading restrictions in general provided an additional incentive for members to purchase regional specialist units which promoted internalization of order flow and limited fragmentation.

However, the Commission narrowed the scope of exchange off-board trading restrictions by the adoption of Rules 19c-1 and 19c-3 under the Act.[5] Rule 19c-1 enabled Exchange members to execute agency trades with a market maker who is not an exchange member. Rule 19c-3 permits Exchange members to execute proprietary trades in securities listed after April 26, 1979. On a practical basis, the purchase of a regional specialist unit allowed a member firm to internalize its small retail order flow without violating an exchange's off-board principal trading restrictions.

The Exchange believes it is appropriate to rescind its restrictions on off-board trading at this time. Advances in the application of technology have resulted in the creation of new competitors to the regional exchanges, such as Alternative Trading Systems. As such, the Exchange recognizes the need for exchanges and their members to take part in the greater level of free market trading. The NYSE also filed to rescind NYSE Rule 390. In light of these developments (as well as the Commission's request that the Exchange review its restrictions on off-board trading), the Exchange now proposed to rescind Chapter II, Section 23.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [6] in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to 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; and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, and dealers.

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

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will not 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

The Exchange has neither solicited nor received written comments on the proposed rule change.

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

Within 35 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding, or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission will:

A. By order approved such proposed rule change, or

B. Institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

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. The Commission also invites interested persons to submit written data, views, and arguments on the market fragmentation issues presented in the NYSE Notice.[7] Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549-0609. 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 persons, 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 inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office at the Exchange. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-BSE-00-02 and should be submitted by May 8, 2000. Comments responding to the Commission's request for comment on market fragmentation issues should refer to File No. SR-NYSE-99-48 and should be submitted by April 28, 2000.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[8]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42450 (Feb. 23, 2000), 65 FR 10577 (Feb. 28, 2000) (File No. SR-NYSE-99-48). The Commission notes that similar proposals have been filed by the American Stock Exchange, Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42460 (February 25, 2000), 65 FR 11618 (March 3, 2000) (File No. SR-Amex+00-05); the Chicago Stock Exchange, Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42459 (Feb. 25, 2000), 65 FR 11619 (March 3, 2000) (File No. SR-CHX-99-28); the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42458 (Feb. 25, 2000), 65 FR 11628 (March 3, 2000) (File No. SR-Phlx-00-12); and the Pacific Exchange, SR-PCX-00-11.

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4.  The Commission notes that the NYSE Notice is available on the Commission's website at: <http://www.sec.gov/​rules/​sros/​ny9948n.htm>.

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7.  See supra notes 3 and 4.

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[FR Doc. 00-9486 Filed 4-14-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M