On April 7, 2000, the American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”)  and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, a proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on May 10, 2000. The Commission received no comments on the proposal. This order grants accelerated approval of the proposal.
II. Description of the Proposal
The Amex proposes to increase equity options transaction fees for non-member broker-dealer orders. The Amex currently imposes a transaction charge on options trades executed on the Exchange. The charges vary depending on whether the transaction involves an equity or index option and whether the transaction is executed for a specialist or market maker account, a member firm's proprietary account, a non-member broker-dealer, or a customer account. The Amex also imposes a charge for clearance of options trades and an options floor brokerage charge, which also depends upon the type of account for which the trade is executed. In addition, all three types of charges—transactions, options clearance, and options floor brokerage—are subject to caps on the number of options contracts subject to the charges on a given day.
Recently, the Amex eliminated all options transaction, clearance, and floor brokeage fees for customer equity options orders. To offset the elimination of these fees for customer equity options orders, the Exchange raised the equity options transaction fee Start Printed Page 37191from $0.07 to $0.19 per contract side for member firm proprietary orders and from $0.08 to $0.17 per contract side for specialist and market maker orders. To further offset the elimination of options transaction, clearance and brokerage fees for customer equity option orders, the Exchange proposes to increase the equity options transaction fee for non-member broker-dealer orders from $0.07 to $0.19 per contract side. This revised fee will also apply to both LEAPS  and FLEX  options. Equity options clearance and floor brokerage fees for non-member broker-dealers will remain unchanged at $0.04 and $0.03 per contract side, respectively.
The Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange and in particular, with the requirements of Section 6 of the Act. Specifically, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with Section 6(b)(4) of the Act, which requires a registered national securities exchange to promulgate rules that provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its members and other persons using its facilities. The Commission believes that the proposed increase in the equity options transaction fee for non-member broker-dealer orders is not unreasonable and should not discriminate unfairly among market participants. In addition, the Commission notes that member firm proprietary orders are charged the same options transaction fee as is proposed for non-member proprietary orders.
The Commission finds good cause for approving the proposed rule change prior to the thirtieth day after the date of publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register. Approval of the proposal will enable the Exchange to offset the recent elimination of options transaction, clearance, and floor brokerage fees for customer equity options orders in an expeditious manner. The Commission notes that the Exchange recently raised the equity options transaction fee for member firm proprietary orders to help offset the elimination of options transaction, clearance, and floor brokerage fees for customer equity options orders, and no comments were received on that proposal. Therefore, the Commission believes it is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) and Section 19(b)(2) of the Act to grant accelerated approval to the proposed rule change.
It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (SR-Amex-00-18) is approved.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
4. The current caps are set at 2,000 contracts for customer trades and 3,000 contracts for member firm proprietary, non-member broker-dealer, specialist, and market maker trades.Back to Citation
5. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42675, (April 13, 2000), 65 FR 21223 (April 20, 2000).Back to Citation
6. LEAPS are Long Term Equity Anticipation Securities or options with durations of up to 36 months. See Amex Rule 903c.Back to Citation
7. FLEX options are customized options with individually specified terms such as strike price, expiration date, and exercise style. See Amex Rule 900G.Back to Citation
10. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42675, (April 13, 2000), 65 FR 21223 (April 20, 2000) (approving SR-Amex-00-15).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 00-14820 Filed 6-12-00; 8:45 am]
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