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Notice

Self Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Exercises by Put Holders During a Shortage of the Underlying Security

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble June 1, 2000.

On November 2, 1999, The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) a proposed rule change (File No. SR-OCC-99-16) pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”).[1] Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register on March 29, 2000.[2] On April 10, 2000, OCC filed an amendment to the proposed rule change.[3] No comment letters were received. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is approving the proposed rule change.

I. Description

OCC is amending Article VI, Section 19 of its By-laws to eliminate OCC's authority to prohibit exercises by put holders that would be unable to deliver the underlying security due to a shortage of the underlying security. In lieu thereof, the amended By-laws give OCC the right to suspend settlement until it can determine whether the unavailability of the underlying stock will extend past the option expiration date and upon making that determination to take the appropriate action under Article VI, Section 19(b) or (c). Thus, the rule change allows OCC to protect the benefit of the put holder's bargain and to treat puts and calls equally when there is a shortage of the underlying securities.

A similar change will be made to Article XV, Section 3 and Article XX, Section 3 with respect to dollar-denominated and cross-rate foreign currency options by deleting Article XV, Section 3 (b)(2) and Article XX, Section 3(b)(2). The deletions will conform the treatment of foreign currency puts to the treatment of equity puts by eliminating OCC's authority to prohibit exercises by put holders who would be unable to deliver the underlying interest. OCC already has the authority to fix cash settlement prices for foreign currency puts in appropriate circumstances.

Finally, Article XXIV, Section 5 of OCC's By-laws, which relates to buy-write options unitary derivatives (BOUNDs),[4] has been amended to conform OCC's treatment of BOUNDs put holders in shortage situations with its treatment of equity and foreign currency options holders in similar situations.

II. Discussion

Section 17A(b)(3)(F) [5] of the Act requires that the rules of a clearing agency not be designed to permit unfair discrimination among participants in the use of the clearing agency. The Commission finds that OCC's rule change is consistent with OCC's obligation under the Act because it amends OCC's rules so that put and call holders are treated similarly when there is a shortage of the underlying security.

III. Conclusion

On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with 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-99-16) be, and hereby is, approved.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[6]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

2.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42563 (Mar. 22, 2000), 65 FR 16679.

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3.  OCC amended its proposed rule change to extend the proposed change to cover foreign currency options and cross-rate foreign currency options. Because the amendment made no substantive changes to OCC's proposal other than to include additional option products OCC clears, republication of notice was not required.

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4.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 37603 (Aug. 26, 1996) 61 FR 46500 (Sept. 3, 1996), for amendments to OCC's By-laws and Rules to provide for the issuance, clearance, and settlement of BOUNDs.

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5.  15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(F).

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[FR Doc. 00-14408 Filed 6-7-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M