On January 19, 2000, The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) a proposed rule change (File No. SR-OCC-00-01) pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) and on March 14, 2000, amended the proposed rule change. Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register on March 31, 2000. No comments letters were received. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is approving the proposed rule change.
The proposed rule change adds new subparagraph (3) to Article XVII, Section 4 of OCC's By-Laws  to allow OCC to establish the exercise settlement value for expiring index options in conformity with the establishment of the final settlement value for related index futures and options on index futures when the primary market(s) for one or more component securities of the index is closed on the last trading day before expiration. OCC's current method for setting the exercise settlement amount for an underlying index when the primary market(s) for securities representing a substantial portion of the value of the index are closed on the last trading day before expiration is to use the reported level of the underlying index at the close of trading on the last preceding day for which a closing index level was reported.
However, the valuation method that would be used by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) is to set the settlement value for index futures whenever the primary market for a single component stock of the index is closed the last trading day before expiration. In such a situation, CME would determine the settlement value of the index by using the reported opening values for index stocks affected by the closing when the primary market(s) for such stocks reports. The use of Start Printed Page 31037different dates and hence potentially different index values for fixing the final settlement values for options and futures on the same index creates uncertainty and risk. Therefore, OCC is amending its By-Laws so that if the primary market(s) for one or more component securities of an index does not open for trading on the last trading day before expiration of a series of options on the index, an adjustment panel acting pursuant to Article XVII may fix the exercise settlement amount for such options by using the opening prices of the affected security or securities when the primary market reopens.
OCC also is amending Article XVII to make clear that (1) OCC has the discretion to determine which market is a security's primary market and (2) when OCC fixes a settlement price based on an index level at the close of trading, the price will be fixed based on the index level at the close of regular trading hours, as determined by OCC.
In Section 17A, Congress stated its finding that the development of uniform standards and procedures for clearance and settlement will reduce unnecessary costs and increase the protection of investors and persons facilitating transactions by and acting on behalf of investors. Congress then directed the Commission to facilitate the establishment of coordinated facilities for the clearance and settlement of transactions in securities, securities options, futures, and options on futures. The Commission believes that the approval of OCC's rule change is in line with this finding and directive of Congress. The current practice of using different dates and hence potentially different index values for fixing the final settlement values for options and futures on the same index has the potential to create uncertainty and risks for many market participants. This risk should be minimized by OCC's new procedure which will allow OCC to conform its method of establishing the expiration settlement value for index options with that used for establishing the final settlement price for related index futures and options on index futures.
On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with the requirements of the Act and in particular with the requirements of Section 17A of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.
It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (File No. SR-OCC-00-01) be and hereby is approved.Start Signature
For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
3. Section 4 sets forth OCC's procedures for establishing the exercise settlement value for an index option when the current value for the index is unavailable or inaccurate.Back to Citation
4. The rule change will only apply to series of index options introduced after the later of: (1) The date of the Commission's approval of this rule filing or (2) the date specified in a new Options Disclosure document or supplement thereto that discloses the substance of this rule change.Back to Citation
5. OCC By-laws, Article XVII, Section 4(a)(2).Back to Citation
6. For example, CME Rule 4003 states. “[I]f the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) does not open on the day scheduled for the determination of the Final Settlement Price [of S&P 500 index futures], then the NYSE-stock component of the Final Settlement Price shall be based on the next opening prices of NYSE stocks.”Back to Citation
7. For example, many market participants use trading strategies whereby they trade index options and index futures based on the expectation that the settlement values will have a predictable relationship.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 00-12134 Filed 5-12-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-M