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Intermarket Trading System; Order Approving Sixteenth Amendment to the ITS Plan Relating to Decimal Pricing in Listed Securities

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Start Preamble November 21, 2000.

On August 24, 2000, the Intermarket Trading System (“ITS”) submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) an amendment to the restated ITS Plan (“Plan”) pursuant to section 11A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 11A3a3-2 thereunder.[2] The Participants filed the amendment to: (1) Recognize the transition from quoting in fractions to decimal pricing; (2) reduce the pre-opening price change parameter for certain securities; and (3) expand the pre-opening price change parameters for certain stocks. Notice of the proposal appeared in the Federal Register on September 8, 2000 to solicit comments on the amendment from interested persons.[3] The Commission made the proposed amendment summarily effective upon publication of the notice for a period of 120 days.[4] The Commission received no comments on the proposal. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is approving the proposal.

The proposal amends section 6(a)(ii) of the Plan to recognize the transition from fractions to decimal pricing, the new method of pricing for equity securities and options. In addition, the proposal amends section 7(a) of the Plan Start Printed Page 75324to reduce the pre-opening price change parameter for certain securities from 1/8 point ($0.125) to $0.10, as well as change pricing references to decimal pricing. Finally, the proposal expands the pre-opening price change parameters for certain stocks, which are reported on Network B of the Consolidated Tape Association, similar to those stocks reported on Network A.

The Commission finds that the proposed amendment is consistent with the Act in general, and in particular, with section 11A(a)(1)(C)(ii),[5] which provides for fair competition among the Participants and their members, and section 11A(a)(1)(D),[6] which provides for linking of markets for qualified securities through communications and data processing facilities that foster efficiency, enhance competition, increase the information available to brokers, dealers, and investors, facilitate the offsetting of investors' orders, and contribute to the best execution of such orders. The Commission also finds that the amendment is consistent with Rule 11Aa3-2(c)(2),[7] which requires the Commission to determine that the amendment is necessary and appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors and the maintenance of fair and orderly markets, to remove impediments to, and perfect the mechanisms of, a national market system or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

On June 8, 2000, the Commission ordered the self-regulatory organizations (“SROs”) to submit a plan that would begin phasing in decimal pricing in equity securities and options on or before September 5, 2000, and complete this phase-in no later than April 9, 2001.[8] On July 24, 2000, the SROs submitted a phase-in plan to the Commission. On August 7, 2000, the SROs filed proposed rule changes necessary to implement decimal pricing. The Commission believes that the proposed amendment to the ITS Plan is another required adjustment in the process of the market-wide conversion to decimal pricing that may improve the efficiency and reliability of ITS. Lastly, the proposed amendment is necessary to accommodate decimal pricing, the new method of pricing for equity securities among the Participants, and therefore is consistent with ITS's purpose: to facilitate intermarket trading in listed equity securities.

For the foregoing reasons, the Commission finds that the proposed amendment is consistent with Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to the ITS and, in particular, sections 11A(a)(1)(C)(ii) and (D) of the Act [9] and Rule 11Aa3-2(c)(2) thereunder.[10]

It is Therefore Ordered, pursuant to section 11A(a)(3)(B) of the Act,[11] that the proposed amendment be, and hereby is, approved.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[12]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  U.S.C. 78k-1.

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2.  17 CFR 240.11Aa3-2. The ITS is a National Market System (“NMS”) plan, which was designed to facilitate intermarket trading in exchange-listed equity securities based on current quotation information emanating from the linked markets. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 19456 (January 27, 1983), 48 FR 4938 (February 3, 1983).

The ITS participants include the American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex”), the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc. (“BSE”), the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc. (“CBOE”), the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc. (“CHX”), the Cincinnati Stock Exchange, Inc. (“CSE”), the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”), the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (“NYSE”), the Pacific Exchange, Inc. (“PCX”), and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (“PHLX”) (“Participants”)

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3.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43236 (August 31, 2000), 65 FR 54571 (September 8, 2000).

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4.  See 17 CFR 240.11Aa3-2(c)(4) (allowing the Commission to summarily put into effect on a temporary basis a Plan amendment “if the Commission finds that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors or the maintenance of fair and orderly markets, to remove impediments to, and perfect mechanisms of, a national market system or otherwise in furtherance of the purpose of the Act”).

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5.  15 U.S.C. 78k-1(a)(1)(C)(ii).

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6.  15 U.S.C. 78k-1(a)(1)(D).

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8.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42914 (June 8, 2000), 65 FR 38010 (June 19, 2000).

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9.  15 U.S.C. 78k-1(a)(1)(C)(ii) and (D).

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11.  15 U.S.C. 78k-1(a)(3)(B).

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[FR Doc. 00-30668 Filed 11-30-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M