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Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Adjustments to Index Options

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Start Preamble July 11, 2000.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] notice is hereby given that on November 2, 1999, The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which items have been prepared primarily by OCC. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested parties.

I. Self-Regulatory Organizations Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

The proposed rule change would amend OCC's By-Laws governing index option adjustment to permit the substitution of a successor index for an underlying index.

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

In its filing with the Commission, OCC 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. OCC has prepared summaries, set forth in sections (A), (B), and (C) below, of the most significant aspects of these statements.[2]

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

The primary reason for the proposed rule change is to provide for the substitution of a successor index for an underlying index. Because substitution of a successor index for an underlying index may require changes to the terms of outstanding options, OCC also seeks the authority to make adjustments to such terms as necessary to reflect the substitution. While OCC believes such substitution and adjustment are already implicitly provided for under the provisions of OCC's By-Laws at Article XVII, Section 4 (“Unavailability or Inaccuracy of Current Index Value”), OCC seeks to clarify its authority through the proposed rule change.

New paragraph (d) of Article XVII, Section 3 will provide that a successor index may be substituted for an underlying index in the event that the underlying index's publication is discontinued, when the underlying index is replaced with another index, or when an index's composition or method of calculation has so materially changed that it is deemed to be a different index. As in the case of other adjustments, the determination to substitute a successor index and the selection of the index will be made by an adjustment panel. The successor index is to be an index which is deemed to be reasonably comparable to the index for which it substitutes.

Article XVII, Section 3, paragraph (c), which is applicable to adjustments to index options generally, will be amended to provide for adjustments as necessary to accommodate a successor index. In addition, paragraph (c) will be amended to expand the rule in other respects to cover a broader range of potential changes in the calculation of index values and to give added flexibility to OCC in making appropriate adjustments to reflect such changes.

These amendments will grant OCC the authority to adjust outstanding options in the event that an exchange increases or decreases the index multiplier for any index option contract or in the event that any change in the method of calculation of an underlying index creates a discontinuity or change in the level of the index that does not reflect a change in the prices or values of the index's constituent securities. Such a change would occur, for example, if the value of an index were reset from 10,000 to 1,000, which would create a discontinuity that would affect all outstanding options. The changes proposed to Article 1, Section 1 and to Article XVII, Section 1 are designed to Start Printed Page 44090clarify and conform the terminology to usage as it has developed since the index options provisions were originally drafted.

OCC believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of Section 17A of the Act because it refines and amplifies existing OCC rules that have proven effective in promoting the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and in safeguarding securities and funds.

(B) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

OCC does not believe that the proposed rule change would impose any burden on competition.

(C) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

Written comments were not and are not intended to be solicited with respect to the proposed rule change, and none have been received.

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

Within thirty-five days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such larger period (i) as the Commission may designate up to ninety 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 OCC consents, the Commission will:

(A) By order approve 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. 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 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 inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Section, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of OCC. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-OCC-99-12 and should be submitted by August 7, 2000.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[3]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble


2.  The Commission has modified the text of the summaries prepared by OCC.

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[FR Doc. 00-18008 Filed 7-14-00; 8:45 am]