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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change by National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. Relating to Affirmative Determination Requirements for Short Sale Orders Received by Members From Non-Member Broker/Dealers

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble January 9, 2002.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Start Printed Page 3250(“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, [2] notice is hereby given that on November 27, 2001, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD” or “Association”), through its wholly owned subsidiary, NASD Regulatiion, Inc. (“NASDR”), filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by NASDR. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

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

NASDR is proposing to amend Rule 3370(b)(2)(A) and the corresponding recordkeeping requirements under Rule 3370(b)(4)(B) (the “Affirmative Determination Requirements”) of the NASD to require that, before accepting a short sale order from a broker/dealers that is not an NASD member (“non-member broker/dealer”), a member must make an affirmative determination that the member will receive delivery of the security from the non-member broker/dealer or that the member can borrow the security on behalf of the non-member broker/dealer for delivery by settlement date.

Below is the text of the proposed rule change. Proposed new language is underlined; proposed deletions are in brackets.

* * * * *

Rule 3370. Prompt Receipt and Delivery of Securities

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(b)(2) “Short Sales”

(A) Customer non-member broker/dealer short sales

No member or person associated with a member shall accept a “short” sale order for any customer or non-member broker/dealer in any security unless the member or person associated with a member makes an affirmative determination that the member will receive delivery of the security from the customer or non-member broker/dealer or that the member can borrow the security on behalf of the customer or non-member broker/dealer for delivery by settlement date. This requirement shall not apply, however, to transactions in corporate debt securities, and proprietary orders of a non-member broker/dealer that meet one of the exceptions in subparagraph (B) below.

* * * * *

(3) No change

(4) “Affirmative Determinations”

(A) No change

(B) To satisfy the requirement for an “affirmative determination” contained in paragraph (b)(2) above for customer, non-member broker/dealer, and proprietary short sales, the member or person associated with a member must keep a written record [which] that includes:

(i) if a customer or non-member broker/dealer assures delivery, the present location of the securities in question, whether they are in good deliverable form and the customer's or non-member broker/dealer's ability to deliver them to the member within three (3) business days; or

(ii) No change

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

In its filing with the Commission, NASDR 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. NASDR 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

Rule 3370(b)(2)(A) provides that no member or person associated with a member shall accept a short sale order for any customer in any security unless the member or person associated with a member makes an affirmative determination that the member will receive delivery of the security from the customer or that the customer or that the member can borrow the security on behalf of the customer for delivery by settlement date. For purposes of Rule 3370(b)(2), the term “customer” is defined in NASD Rule 0120(g) and excludes a broker or dealer.[3]

As a result, the requirements of Rule 3370(b)(2)(A) generally would not apply directly to orders received by a member from another broker/dealer (the “originating broker/dealer”). This does not present regulatory concerns where the originating broker/dealer is also an NASD member, because, as a member, the originating broker/dealer would have an independent obligation to comply with the Affirmative Determination Requirements with respect to the order. Non-member broker/dealers, however, are not subject to NASD rules and, therefore, are not independently required to comply with the NASD's Affirmative Determination Requirements. Thus the Affirmative Determination Requirements generally do not apply to short sale orders that originate with a non-member broker/dealer and are subsequently routed to an NASD member.

NASDR believes that the failure to have uniform application of the Affirmative Determination Requirements affects the integrity of the marketplace by possibly resulting in increased fails to deliver and also creates regulatory disparity by allowing certain firms to effect short sales outside the purview of the NASD's Affirmative Determination Requirements.

To address these concerns, the proposed rule change would amend Rule 3370(b)(2)(A) to require that no member or person associated with a member shall accept a short sale order for any customer, or any non-member broker/dealer in any security unless the member or person associated with a member makes an affirmative determination that the member will receive delivery of the security from the customer or non-member broker/dealer, or that the member can borrow the security on behalf of the customer or non-member broker/dealer for delivery by settlement date. In such instances, members also would be required to comply wit the corresponding recordkeeping requirements under Rule 3370(b)(4)(B).

While NASD members generally are required to make affirmative determinations for both customer and proprietary orders, there are limited exceptions for proprietary orders that are bona fide market making, bona fide fully hedged or bona fide fully arbitraged transactions.[4] Under the proposed rule change, if a member can establish and document that a proprietary order it has received from a non-member broker/dealer meets one of these exceptions, it would be in compliance with the proposed amendments to the Affirmative Determination Requirements.

Start Printed Page 3251

2. Statutory Basis

NASDR believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that the Association's rules be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. NASDR believes that applying Affirmative Determination Requirements to short sale orders of non-member brokers/dealers will ensure the integrity of the marketplace by minimizing possible fails to deliver and eliminating regulatory disparities created when short sale orders are not conducted in compliance with the Affirmative Determination Requirements.

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

NASDR 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, as amended.

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

NASDR has neither solicited nor received written comments on the proposed rule change.

III. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments 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 NASD. All submissions should refer to file number SR-NASD-2001-85 and should be submitted by February 13, 2002.

Start Signature

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

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  Rule 0120(g) states that the term “customer” shall not include a broker or dealer.

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4.  Rule 3370(b)(2)(B).

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[FR Doc. 02-1575 Filed 1-22-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M