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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. to Establish Minimum Quotation Increment for Securities Quoting in Decimals

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Start Preamble January 23, 2001

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on January 22, 2001, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD” or “Association”), through its wholly owned subsidiary, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (“Nasdaq”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission” or “SEC”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by Nasdaq. Nasdaq filed the proposal pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act,[3] and Rule19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[4] which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission.[5] The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interest persons.

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

Nasdaq proposes to amend NASD Rule 4613, “Character of Quotations,” to adopt a $0.01 minimum quotation increment for Nasdaq securities as previously agreed to as part of the Decimals Implementation Plan for the Equities and Options Markets (“Implementation Plan” or “Plan”) submitted to the Commission on July 24, 2000. Because this proposal simply implements the terms and conditions of the Implementation Plan, Nasdaq has designated this proposal as non-controversial, rendering it effective upon filing with the Commission. Nasdaq asks that the Commission waive the 30-day operative waiting period pursuant to SEC Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii).[6] Nasdaq will implement this rule change on March 12, 2001. The text of the proposed rule change is below. Proposed new language is in italics. Proposed deletions are in brackets.

4613. Character of Quotations

(a) Two-Sided Quotations

(1) No Change.

(A) No Change.

(B) No Change.

(C) No Change.

(D) Minimum Price Variation for Decimal-based Quotations

The minimum quotation increment for securities authorized for decimal pricing as part of the SEC-approved Decimals Implementation Plan for the Equities and Options Markets shall be $0.01. Quotations failing to meet this standard shall be rejected.

(2) No Change.

* * * * *

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

In its filing with the Commission, Nasdaq included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for its proposal and discussed any comments it received regarding the proposal. The text of these Start Printed Page 8252statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. Nasdaq 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

On July 25, 2000, the NASD, jointly with self-regulatory organizations, submitted to the Commission the Implementation Plan. As part of the Plan, the NASD committed to establish a minimum quotation increment of $0.01 for Nasdaq securities trading in decimals. That is, Nasdaq would display and disseminate quotations in securities trading in decimal-based increments to two places beyond the decimal point (to the penny). This proposed rule change establishes the $0.01 minimum quote increment for Nasdaq securities that transition from fractional to decimal pricing. The filing also informs market participants that decimal quotations submitted to Nasdaq that do not comport with the penny minimum quotation increment standard will be rejected by Nasdaq systems. Nasdaq intends to impose the $0.01 minimum decimal quotation increment, pursuant to the Plan's phase-in schedule, beginning March 12, 2001, on every Nasdaq security that becomes authorized for decimal trading pursuant to the Plan.

2. Statutory Basis

Nasdaq believes that the proposal is consistent with the provisions of Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act [7] in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, and processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, 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.

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

Nasdaq does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

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

Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

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

Because the foregoing proposed rule change does not:

(i) significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest;

(ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and

(iii) become operative for 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [8] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[9] 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 purposes of the Act.

Nasdaq has requested that the Commission accelerate the operative date. The Commission finds good cause to waive the 30-day operative waiting period, because such designation is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. Acceleration of the operative date will allow Nasdaq to begin quoting securities in penny increments pursuant to the Implementation Plan, which is part of the industry-wide conversion to decimal pricing. For these reasons, the Commission finds good cause to waive both the 5-day pre-filing requirement and the 30-day operative waiting period.[10]

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposal is consistent with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., 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. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the NASD. All submissions should refer to file number SR-NASD-01-07 and should be submitted by February 20, 2001.

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[11]

Start Signature

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  Nasdaq asked, and the Commission agreed, to waive the 5-day pre-filing notice requirement. See Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii). 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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6.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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10.  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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[FR Doc. 01-2506 Filed 1-29-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M