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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change by the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., To Allow Floor Brokers To Clear a Specialist's Post By Telephone

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble May 10, 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 April 23, 2001, the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc. (“CHX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities Exchange Act Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III 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.

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

The Exchange proposes to amend CHX Article XX, Rule 10 to permit floor brokers to clear a specialist's post telephonically. The text of the proposed rule change is below. Proposed additions are in italics. Proposed deletions are in brackets.

ARTICLE XX, RULE 10

Manner of Bidding and Offering

Rule 10. Bids and offers to be effective must be audibly made at the post and shall remain in full force until the person making the bid or offer shall audibly announce that he is out of the market or until he leaves the post.

* * * Interpretations and Policies: .01 Although there may be certain amount of negotiation by voice away from the post, every trade must be consummated at the post. .02 Clearing the Post.

Policy. All orders received by floor brokers or originated by market makers on the floor of the Exchange must effectively clear the post before the orders may be routed to another market[, either] via the ITS [System] or through the use of alternative means.

Floor brokers who receive an order on the floor have a fiduciary responsibility to seek a best price execution for such order. This responsibility includes clearing of the Exchange's post prior to routing an order to another market so that other buying and selling interest at the post can be checked for a potential execution equal to [that may be as good as] or better than the execution available in another market. It is not inconsistent with a floor broker's fiduciary responsibility to effectively clear the post telephonically, provided that: (i) through the specialist, the floor broker probes the market for other buying and selling interest at the post, and (ii) after probing the market, if equal or better buying or selling interest is available at the post, the floor broker, while physically present at the post, consummates the trade at the post. Start Printed Page 27189

Market makers are required to provide depth and liquidity to the Exchange market, among other things. Exchange Rules require that all market maker transactions constitute a course of dealings reasonably calculated to contribute to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market. In so doing, market makers must adhere to traditional agency auction market principles on the floor. Transactions by Exchange market markers on other exchanges, which fail to clear the Exchange post, do not constitute such a course of dealings.

Notwithstanding the above, it is understood that on occasion a customer will insist on special handling of a particular order that would preclude it from clearing the post on the Exchange floor. For example, a customer might request that a specific order be given primary market execution. These situations must be documented and reported to the Exchange. Customer directives for special handling of all orders in a particular stock or all stocks, however, will not be considered as exceptions to the clearing the post policy.

All executions resulting from bids and offers reflected on Instinet terminals resident on the Exchange floor constitute “orders” which are “communicated” to the Exchange floor. Therefore, all orders resulting from interest reflected on Instinet terminals on the Exchange floor must be handled as any other order communicated to the floor. All such orders must be presented to the post during normal trading hours. All trades between Instinet and Exchange floor members are Exchange trades and must be executed on the Exchange.

Method of Clearing the Post. Subject to Article XX, Rule 11 relating the cabinet securities, the Exchange's general clearing the post policy requires [the] floor brokers and [or] market maker s to be physically present at the post, but permits floor brokers, as a means of clearing the post, to telephonically probe a market through the specialist in order to more efficiently fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to seek a best price execution for their customer orders. A market maker, after requesting the specialist's market quote, must bid or offer the price and size of his intended interest at the post. A floor broker must clear the post be requesting a market quote from the specialist. If the specialist or any other member who has the post indicates an interest to trade at the price that was bid or offered by the market maker or the price of the floor broker's order (even through that order has not yet been bid or offered), then the trade may be consummated with the specialist (or whomever has the post) in accordance with existing Exchange priority, parity and precedence rules. If the specialist (or any other member who has the post) indicates interest to trade at that price but the member communicating the intended interest, including Instinet interest, determines not to consummate the trade with the specialist or such member, then, to preserve the Exchange's existing priority, party and precedence rules, the trade may not be done with any other Exchange floor member. (See Article XXX, Rule 2). If the trade is consummated with the specialist or other member who has the post, the specialist (or any customer represented by the specialist) is not required to pay any fees to the broker or market maker in connection with the execution of the order, unless such fee is expressly authorized by an Exchange Rule. If the specialist does not indicate an interest to trade, then the trade may be consummated with another Exchange floor member on the Exchange floor with a resultant Exchange print. Failure to clear the post result in a “trade-through” or “trading ahead” of other floor interest. In addition, failure to properly clear the post may result in a violation of the Exchange's Just and Equitable Trade Principles Rule (Article VIII, Rule 7) and a market maker rule that requires all market maker transactions to constitute a course of dealing reasonably calculated to contribute to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market (Article XXXIV, Rule 1). Failure to properly clear the post may also subject members [the violator] to a fine [minor rule violation] under the Exchange's Minor Rule Violation Plan.

* * * * *

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 on 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 proposes to amend CHX Article XX, Rule 10 to allow floor brokers to clear a specialist's post by phone. Under the Exchange's current rules, physical presence at a specialist's post is the only satisfactory method to clear the post before executing an order on the floor with another member or transmitting an order to another market center for execution via the Intermarket Trading System or through other means. The Exchange believes that permitting floor brokers, while on the CHX floor, to telephonically clear a specialist's post—for the purpose of determining the presence of other buying and selling interest on the CHX—would expand the manner of probing the CHX market in a faster, more efficient way while continuing to satisfy the rule's purpose. This change also will permit floor brokers to more efficiently fulfill their fiduciary obligations to seek the best available price in the national market for their customers' orders.

The proposed rule does not place any absolute responsibility on specialists to permit floor brokers to clear a post by phone, but allows specialists to require floor brokers to come to the post if there is an active crowd or if the specialist is too busy to probe the market. Under the proposed rule, all trades must nevertheless continue to be consummated at the post.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that 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 with the requirements of section 6(b).[3] In particular, the Exchange believes the proposed rule is consistent with section 6(b)(5) of the Act [4] in that it is designed 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.

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

Within 35 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 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 the CHX 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 Start Printed Page 27190arguments 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, 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 CHX. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-CHX-2001-09 and should be submitted by June 6, 2001.

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[5]

Start Signature

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

[FR Doc. 01-12280 Filed 5-15-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M