On March 16, 2001, the Chicago Stock Exchange, Incorporated (“CHX” or filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commissin” or “SEC”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”)  and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, a proposed rule change that would amend CHX Article XX, Rule 37(h) to reduce the determinative spread from $.03 to $.02 as part of the Exchange's SuperMAX 2000 price improvement program. Notice of the proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on March 23, 2001. This order approves the proposed rule change on an accelerated basis.
II. Description of the Proposal
According to the CHX, the primary purpose of the proposed rule change is to increase the number of orders that are eligible for automated price improvement.
On December 19, 2000, the Commission approved SR-CHX-00-37, implementing SuperMAX 2000, the CHX's new price improvement program, which will govern price improvement of all order for issues quoting in decimal price increments. SuperMAX 2000 was designed to afford specialists the flexibility to provide a wide variety of price improvement alternatives, all of which will be equal to or more favorable than alternatives that existed previously at the CHX. SuperMAX 2000 originally provided for price improvement of at least $.01 on orders of 100 shares where the spread between the national best bid and offer (“NBBO”) was $.03 or greater.
To remain competitive, the CHX proposes that its specialists be permitted (but not obligated) to offer price improvement of $.01 or better where the NBBO spread is $.02 or greater. The current determinative spread is $.03. The proposal would not impact orders for more than 100 shares, in which case the specialist's price improvement options are not contingent on a determinative NBBO spread.
The Commission has reviewed carefully the proposed rule change and finds that it is consistent with the Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange and, in particular, with the requirements of Section 6(b). Specifically, the Start Printed Page 19266Commission finds that approval of the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5)  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. The Commission believes that a reduction in the determinative spread from $.03 to $.02 may increase the opportunities for price improvement, resulting in a benefit to investors. Additionally, the Commission believes the proposal is reasonable because it contemplates equality among order-sending firms and their customers by mandating that additional price improvement be provided by CHX specialists on an issue-by-issue basis, rather than allowing specialists to distinguish among order-sending firms when designating price improvement levels.
The Commission finds good cause for approving the proposed rule change before the thirtieth day after the date of publication of notice of filing thereof in the Federal Register. In the notice, the Commission indicated that it would consider granting accelerated approval of the proposal after a 15-day comment period. The Commission received no comments on the proposal during the 15-day comment period. The Commission believes it is reasonable to implement the proposal on an accelerated basis, in view of the anticipated benefits of the proposal. For these reasons, the Commission finds good cause for accelerating approval of the proposed rule change.
For the above reasons, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of the Act, in general, and with Section 6(b)(5)  in particular.
It Is Therefore Ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (SR-CHX-2001-05), as amended, be and hereby is approved.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
3. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 44085 (March 19, 2001), 66 FR 16304. In the notice, the Commission stated it would consider granting accelerated approval of the proposed rule change after a 15-day comment period.Back to Citation
4. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43742 (December 19, 2000), 65 FR 83119 (December 29, 2000).Back to Citation
7. See footnote 3, supra.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 01-9170 Filed 4-12-01; 8:45 am]
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