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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by The Chicago Stock Exchange; Incorporated Relating to the Trading of Nasdaq/NM Securities on the CHX

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Start Preamble November 15, 2000.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder [2] Start Printed Page 71167notice is hereby given that on November 1, 2000, the Chicago Stock Exchange, Incorporated (“CHX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II 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.

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

The Exchange has requested a one-year extension of the pilot program relating to the trading of Nasdaq/NM securities on the Exchange. Specifically, the pilot program amended Article XX, Rule 37 and Article XX, Rule 43 of the Exchange's rules. The last pilot expired on November 1, 2000. The Exchange proposes that the pilot remain in effect on a pilot basis through November 1, 2001. The text of the proposed rule 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 regarding 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 has requested a one-year extension of the pilot program relating to the trading of Nasdaq/NM securities on the Exchange. Specifically, the pilot program amends Article XX, Rule 37 and Article XX, Rule 43 of the Exchange's Rules. The latest pilot program expired on November 1, 2000; the Exchange proposes that the amendments remain in effect on a pilot basis through November 1, 2001.

On May 4, 1987, the Commission approved certain Exchange rules and procedures relating to the trading of Nasdaq/NM securities on the Exchange.[3] Among other things, these rules rendered the Exchange's BEST Rule guarantee (Article XX, Rule 37(a)) applicable to Nasdaq/NM securities and made Nasdaq/NM securities eligible for the automatic execution feature of the Exchange's Midwest Automated Execution System (the “MAX” system).[4]

On January 3, 1997, the Commission approved, on a one year pilot basis, a program that eliminated the requirement that CHX specialists automatically execute orders for Nasdaq/NM securities when the specialist is not quoting at the national best bid or best offer disseminated pursuant to SEC Rule 11Ac1-1 (the “NBBO”).[5] When the Commission approved the program on a pilot basis, it requested that the Exchange submit a report to the Commission describing the Exchange's experience with the pilot program. The Commission stated that the report should include at least six months of trading data. Due to programming issues, the pilot program was not implemented until April, 1997. Six months of trading data did not become available until November, 1997. As a result, the Exchange requested an additional three month extension to collect the data and prepare the report for the Commission.

On December 31, 1997, the Commission extended the pilot program for an additional three months, until March 31, 1998, to give the Exchange additional time to prepare and submit the report and to give the Commission adequate time to review the report prior to approving the pilot on a permanent basis.[6] The Exchange submitted the report to the Commission on January 30, 1998. Subsequently, the Exchange requested another three-month extension, in order to give the Commission adequate time to approve the pilot program on a permanent basis.

On March 31, 1998, the Commission approved the pilot for an additional three-month period, until June 30, 1998.[7] On July 1, 1998, the Commission approved the pilot for an additional six-month period, until December 31, 1998.[8] On December 31, 1998, the Commission approved the pilot for an additional six-month period, until June 30, 1999.[9] On June 30, 1999, the Commission approved the pilot for an additional seven-month period, until January 31, 2000.[10] On January 31, 2000, the Commission approved the pilot for an additional three-month period, until May 1, 2000.[11] On May 1, 2000, the Commission approved the pilot for an additional six-month period, until November 1, 2000.[12] The Exchange now requests another extension of the current pilot program, through November 1, 2001.

Under the pilot program, specialists must continue to accept agency [13] market orders or marketable limit orders, but only for orders of 100 to 1000 shares in Nasdaq/NM securities rather than the 2099 share limit previously in place. This threshold order acceptance requirement is referred to as the “auto acceptance threshold.” Specialists, however, must accept all agency limit orders in Nasdaq/NM securities from 100 up to and including 10,000 shares for placement in the limit order book. Specialists are required to automatically execute Nasdaq/NM orders in accordance with certain amendments to the pilot program that recently were approved by the Commission in connection with Exchange submission SR-CHX-00-20.[14]

The pilot program requires the specialist to set the MAX auto-execution threshold at 300 shares or greater for Nasdaq/NM securities. When a CHX Start Printed Page 71168specialist is quoting at the NBBO, orders for a number of shares less than or equal to the size of the specialist's quote are executed automatically (up to the size of the specialist's quote). Orders of a size greater than the specialist's quote are automatically executed up to the size of the specialist's quote, with the balance of the order designated as an open order in the specialist's book, to be filled in accordance with the Exchange's rules for manual execution of orders for Nasdaq/NM securities. Such rules dictate that the specialist must either manually execute the order at the NBBO or a better price or act as agent for the order in seeking to obtain the best available price for the order on a marketplace other than the Exchange. If the specialist decides to act as agent for the order, the pilot program requires the specialist to use order-routing systems to obtain an execution where appropriate. Orders for securities quoted with a spread greater than the minimum variation are executed automatically after a fifteen-second delay from the time the order is entered into MAX. The size of the specialist's bid or offer is then automatically decremented by the size of the execution. When the specialist's quote is exhausted, the system generates an autoquote at an increment away from the NBBO, as determined by the specialist from time to time, for either 100 or 1000 shares, depending on the issue.[15]

When the specialist is not quoting a Nasdaq/NM security at the NBBO, an order that is of a size less than or equal to the auto execution threshold designated by the specialist will execute automatically at the NBBO price up to the size of the auto execution threshold. Orders of a size greater than the auto execution threshold will be designated as open orders in the specialist's book and manually executed, unless the order-sending firm previously has advised the specialist that it elects partial automatic execution, in which event the order will be executed automatically up to the size of the auto execution threshold, with the balance of the order to be designated as an open order in the specialist's book.[16]

Whether the specialist is quoting at the NBBO or not, “oversized” orders, i.e., orders that are of a size greater than the auto acceptance threshold of 1000 shares (or more if designated by the specialist), are not subject to the foregoing requirements, and may be canceled within one minute of being entered into MAX or designated as an open order.

2. Statutory Basis

The proposed rule is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder that are applicable to a national securities exchange and, in particular, with the requirements of Section 6(b).[17] In particular, the proposed rule is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) [18] of the Act in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments and to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

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

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any inappropriate burden on competition.

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

No written comments were either solicited or received.

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

This proposed rule change has been filed by the Exchange as a “non-controversial” rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [19] and subparagraph (f)(6) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder.[20] Consequently, because the foregoing rule change: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors of the public interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) does not become operative until thirty days after the date of filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, provided that the Exchange has given the Commission written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and the text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission.

The Exchange has requested that the Commission accelerate the operative date of the proposal. In addition, the Exchange provided the Commission with written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and text of the proposed rule change, more than five business days prior to the date of the filing of the proposed rule change. The Commission finds that it is appropriate to accelerate the operative date of the proposal and designate the proposal to become operative today.[21]

The Commission notes that in approving prior extensions of this pilot program, it has found that the Exchange's program is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.[22] Specifically, the Commission has found that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) [23] of the Act, which requires that an Exchange have rules designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, 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. The Commission has also stated its belief that the proposal is consistent with Section 11A(a)(1)(C) [24] and 11A(a)(1)(D) [25] of the Act. The Commission has found that the proposal is consistent with Section 11A(a)(1)(C) in that it seeks to ensure economically efficient execution of securities transactions, and with Section 11A(a)(1)(D) in that it attempts to foster the linking of markets for qualified securities through communication and data processing facilities.

The Commission notes, however, that while the Exchange has been working toward establishing a linkage, specialists and OTC market makers do not yet have an effective method of routing orders to each other. The Start Printed Page 71169Commission expects the Exchange to continue to work towards establishing a linkage with the Nasdaq systems as requested in the January 1997 Order.[26] In connection with this effort, the Commission has requested an update on the information provided in the December 21, 1999 report using the Exchange's surveillance system. The Commission requests that the Exchange supplement the available trading data so that it can consider issues concerning the pilot program, including the circumstances involving orders that are not automatically executed through MAX, whether orders are given the NBBO shown at the time the order is received or the NBBO posted at the time the order is executed, and what explanations are available for price disimprovement. The Commission is extending the pilot program for one year so that the Exchange may continue to compile this data for the Commission's review.

The Commission also requests that the Exchange continue its effort to rewrite Article XX, Rule 37 and Article XX, Rule 43 of the Exchange's rules so these rules clearly explain the difference between how listed (or dually traded) securities and over-the-counter (or Nasdaq/NM) securities are routed and executed by the Exchange, and submit the new proposed language to the Commission for review and approval. Additionally, the Commission requests that the Exchange include in its rules an explanation of how the provisions of the Exchange's Best Rule interact with the Exchange's Rules governing automatic execution of orders.

The Commission does not want to interrupt the current operations of the Exchange while the above-described issues are being addressed. Therefore, the Commission finds that it is appropriate to accelerate the operative date of the proposed rule change.

At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the Act.

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, DC 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 Room in Washington, DC Copies of the filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-CHX-00-36 and should be submitted by December 20, 2000.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[27]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 24424 (May 4, 1987), 52 FR 17868 (May 12, 1987) (order approving File No. SR-MSE-87-2); see also, Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 28146 (June 26, 1990), 55 FR 27917 (July 6, 1990) (order expanding the number of eligible securities to 100); 36102 (August 14, 1995), 60 FR 43626 (August 22, 1995) (order expanding the number of eligible securities to 500); 41392 (May 12, 1999), 64 FR 27839 (May 21, 1999) (order expanding the number of eligible securities to 1000).

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4.  The MAX system may be used to provide an automated delivery and execution facility for orders that are eligible for execution under the Exchange's BEST Rule and certain other orders. See CHX Rules, Art. XX, Rule 37(b). A MAX order that fits within the BEST parameters is executed pursuant to the BEST Rule via the MAX system. If an order is outside the BEST parameters, the BEST rule does not apply, but MAX system handling rules remain applicable.

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5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 38119 (January 3, 1997), 62 FR 1788 (January 13, 1997).

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6.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 39512 (December 31, 1997), 63 FR 1517 (January 9, 1998).

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7.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 39823 (March 31, 1998), 63 FR 17246 (April 8, 1998).

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8.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 40150 (July 1, 1998), 63 FR 36983 (July 8, 1998).

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9.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 40868 (December 31, 1998), 64 FR 1845 (January 12, 1999).

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10.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 41586 (June 30, 1999), 64 FR 36938 (July 8, 1999).

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11.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42372 (January 31, 2000), 65 FR 6425 (February 9, 2000).

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12.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42740 (May 1, 2000) 65 FR 26649 (May 8, 2000).

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13.  The term “agency order” means an order for the account of a customer, but does not include professional orders, as defined in CHX Rules, Art. XXX, Rule 2, Interp. and Policy .04. The rule defines a “professional order” as any order for the account of a broker-dealer, the account of an associated person of a broker-dealer, or any account in which a broker-dealer or an associated person of a broker-dealer has any direct or indirect interest.

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14.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43443 (October 13, 2000), 65 FR 63660 (October 24, 2000).

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15.  Specifically, the autoquote is currently for one normal unit of trading (usually 100 shares) for issues that became subject to mandatory compliance with SEC Rule 11Ac1-4 on or prior to February 24, 1997 and 1000 shares for other issues.

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16.  The ability of an order-sending firm to elect partial automatic execution of orders for Nasdaq/NM securities is the result of an amendment to the Exchange's pilot program, recently approved by the Commission in connection with Exchange submission SR-CHX-00-32. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43444 (October 13, 2000), 65 FR 63273 (October 23, 2000).

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19.  15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(i).

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21.  For purposes only of accelerating the operative date of this proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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22.  See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 42372 (January 31, 2000), 65 FR 6425 (February 9, 2000) (SR-CHX-99-27) and 42740 (May 1, 2000) 65 FR 26649 (May 8, 2000) (SR-CHX-00-11).

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24.  15 U.S.C. 78k-1(a)(1)(C).

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25.  15 U.S.C. 78k-1(a)(1)(D).

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26.  See January 1997 Order, supra note 7.

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[FR Doc. 00-30384 Filed 11-28-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M