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The United States securities markets are the world's strongest and most vibrant. The Commission has full confidence that the attacks of September 11, 2001, will have little lasting impact. To that end, the Commission seeks to serve investors and the markets through all available means to facilitate the reopening of fair and orderly markets.
Some of the nation's securities exchanges may have incurred physical damage or disruption that require relocation of trading facilities and personnel to anther suitable physical location. The American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex”), in particular, has reported that it is not yet able to occupy its trading floor. Amex anticipates that its electronic order routing systems will function as they did before September 11, 2001. However, due to the severe damage to the infrastructure surrounding its building, Amex will relocate part of its operations to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). Because there is limited space available at the NYSE, Amex will operate with limited staffing. As a result, specialists will have to serve as floor brokers while performing their usual functions.
Section 12(k)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) grants the Commission the authority, in the event of certain major market disturbances, to issue summarily an order to alter, supplement, suspend, or impose requirements or restrictions with respect to matters or actions subject to regulation by the Commission. Section 11(a) of the Exchange Act prohibits a member of a national securities exchange from effecting transactions for its own account, the account of an associated person, or an account with respect to which it or an associated person has investment discretion unless an exemption applies. Section 11(b) of the Exchange Act requires a national securities exchange to adopt rules to permit a member to register as a specialist. Section 11(b) of the Exchange Act also prohibits a specialist permitted to act as a broker and dealer to effect on the exchange as a broker any transaction except upon a market or limited price order. Because Amex specialists do not generally act as floor brokers, the Amex rules that govern specialists contain certain restrictions that, unless modified, would impair the ability of Amex specialists to act as floor brokers.
Based on all available information, the Commission has determined that:
(1) Amex's inability to trade on its own floor due to the physical damage to the infrastructure surrounding its premises constitutes a major market disturbance characterized by a substantial threat of sudden and excessive fluctuations of securities prices that threaten the nation's fair and orderly markets.
(2) Ensuring that all national securities exchanges are able to operate provides an important source of liquidity during times of market volatility. Facilitation of the resumption of trading at all of the nation's exchanges is necessary in the public interest and for the protection of investors.
(3) Because space limitations will require Amex personnel to act both as specialists and floor brokers, including Start Printed Page 48494handling certain large orders over which they have investment discretion, the specialists may not be able to comply with Amex rules for specialists adopted in conformance with Section 11(b). They also may not be able to comply with the restrictions of Sections 11(a) or 11(b) with respect to these discretionary orders. Accommodating this trading, as a temporary measure, is in the public interest and for the protection of investors in order to maintain or restore fair and orderly securities markets.
Therefore, It Is Ordered, pursuant to Section 12(k)(2) of the Exchange Act, that:
Amex specialists shall be temporarily exempt from Section 11(a) solely for effecting transactions when acting as floor brokers for Amex orders on the floor of the NYSE for accounts in which they have investment discretion provided that,
1. the specialist's discretion, when acting as a floor broker, is limited to time and price discretion of the type exercised by floor brokers on the Amex floor prior to September 11, 2001 pursuant to Amex rules;
2. such discretionary orders to be executed by the Amex specialist acting as a floor broker exceed 50,000 shares; and
3., Amex floor officials take reasonable steps to ensure that the specialist meets its agency obligations and does not disadvantage the customers for which it acts as a floor broker;
It Is Further Ordered, That,
Amex specialists shall be temporarily exempt from Section 11(b) solely for effecting transactions as described above;
It Is Further Ordered, That,
The Amex shall be temporarily exempt from Section 11(b) to permit its specialists to effect transactions as described above.
This order shall be effective with respect to the five business days beginning on the date of the first reopening of trading on the U.S. equities and options markets after September 11, 2001.Start Signature
By the Commission.
Jonathan G. Katz,
1. This finding of an “emergency” is solely for purposes of Section 12(k)(2) of the Exchange Act and is not intended to have any other effect or meaning or to confer any right or impose any obligation.Back to Citation
2. While our authority to supplement Exchange Act Sections 11(a) and 11(b) in this context is derived from the Exchange Act, we acknowledge that our action will affect the application of other provisions of the securities laws that require compliance with Sections 11(a) and 11(b). Terms used in this Order have the same meanings as those terms used in Sections 11(a) and 11(b).Back to Citation
3. The Commission has authority under Section 36 of the Exchange Act to exempt, by order, persons form the requirements of Sections 11(a) and 11(b) of the Exchange Act. Due to exigent circumstances, the procedures for such exemptions established by the Commission under Section 36(b) of the Exchange Act have not yet been followed. The Commission expects that, if necessary, within the period of this order, it could issue a Section 36 order, with appropriate findings and conditions, to provide similar exemptions from Sections 11(a) and 11(b) until the Amex obtains its own space.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 01-23462 Filed 9-19-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-M