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Self-Regulatory Organizations; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change, and Notice of Filing and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Amendment No. 4 to Proposed Rule Change, by the International Securities Exchange LLC, Relating to Priority Principles on Complex Orders

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Start Preamble October 18, 2001.

I. Introduction

On May 25, 2001, the International Securities Exchange LLC (“ISE” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission” or “SEC”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] a proposed rule change to establish priority and order handling principles for complex orders. Notice of the proposed rule change and Amendment Nos. 1, 2 and 3 thereto was published for comment in the Federal Register on August 13, 2001.[3] No comments were received.

On October 16, 2001, the ISE filed Amendment No. 4 to the proposed rule change. In Amendment No. 4, the Exchange added text to proposed new Rule 722(b)(5) to provide that the right to facilitate or cross up to 40% of a customer's complex order without exposing the order for 30 seconds, as is otherwise required by ISE rules, would be limited to those complex orders where at least one leg of the order was for at least 50 contracts.[4]

This order approves the proposed rule change as amended, accelerates approval of Amendment No. 4, and solicits comment from interested persons on that amendment.

II. Discussion

The Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.[5] In particular, the Commission believes that the proposal is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[6] which requires, among other things, that the rules of an exchange be designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market, and to protect investors and the public interest.

The Commission notes that the rules of other options exchanges allow similar procedures for the execution of complex orders.[7] In general, such rules serve to reduce the risk of incomplete or inadequate executions, while increasing efficiency and competitive pricing. At the same time, they protect the priority of orders of public customers by permitting the legs of complex orders to trade ahead of bids and offers established in the marketplace only under restrictions such as those proposed here. Although the ISE's proposal would apply to more types of orders than the rules of other options exchanges, such as box spread and collar orders, the Commission believes that these types of orders are of a similar degree of complexity to those approved in the past for special priority rules, and it is therefore appropriate to accord them the same treatment.

As originally proposed, the new rule would have allowed a firm to execute immediately up to 40% of a complex order, either as principal (“facilitation”) or against an order it has solicited (“crossing”), as opposed to first exposing the order to the market for 30 seconds, as is otherwise required by paragraphs (d) and (e) of ISE Rule 717. In Amendment No. 4 to the proposed rule change, the ISE limited this allowance to orders where at least one leg of the transaction was for at least 50 contracts.[8]

The Commission finds that Amendment No. 4 is consistent with the Act, and finds good cause to approve it prior to the thirtieth day after the date of publication of notice of its filing in the Federal Register. Amendment No. 4 conforms the proposed rules to existing ISE Rules 716 and 717, which permit similar execution procedures for other orders, provided that they are for 50 contracts or more. The Commission believes that limiting such facilitation or crossing rights to orders of this size should help to adequately protect competitive pricing for smaller orders. Finally, the Commission notes that a broker who accepts a customer's order has a fiduciary duty toward that order.

Therefore, the Commission finds good cause to approve Amendment No. 4 to the proposed rule change on an accelerated basis.

III. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning Amendment No. 4, including whether Amendment No. 4 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 USC 552, will be available for inspection and copying at the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-ISE-2001-18 and should be submitted by November 14, 2001.

IV. Conclusion

It Is Therefore Ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[9] that the proposed rule change (File No. SR-ISE-2001-18), as amended, be, and it hereby is, approved.

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Start Printed Page 53820

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[10]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 44659 (August 6, 2001), 66 FR 42575 (August 13, 2001) (“Notice”).

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4.  See letter from Jennifer Lamie, Assistant General Counsel, ISE, to Nancy Sanow, Assistant Director, Division of Market Regulation, Commission, dated October 15, 2001 (“Amendment No. 4”).

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5.  In approving this proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 USC 78(c)(f).

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7.  See Chicago Board Options Exchange Rule 6.45; American Stock Exchange Rule 950(d), Commentary .01; Philadelphia Stock Exchange Rule 1033; Pacific Exchange Rule 6.75.

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8.  See fn. 4, supra.

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[FR Doc. 01-26755 Filed 10-23-01; 8:45 am]