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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc. To Extend Its Specialist Performance Evaluation Program

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Start Preamble March 26, 2002.

Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934[1] notice is hereby given that on March 20, 2002, the Boston Stock Exchange (“BSE” or “Exchange”) 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 the Exchange. 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

The Exchange proposes to extend its Specialist Performance Evaluation Program until June 30, 2002. The proposed language is below. Added language is in italics. Deleted language is in brackets.

Chapter XV

Specialists

Specialist Performance Evaluation Program

Sec. 17 (a)—(e) no change.

(f) This program will expire on [March 31, 2002] June 30, 2002, unless further action is taken by the Exchange.

* * * * *

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 Start Printed Page 15642the 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 seeks to extend its Specialist Performance Evaluation Program (“SPEP”) pilot, until June 30, 2002. Under the SPEP pilot program, the Exchange regularly evaluates the performance of its specialists by using objective measures, such as turnaround time, price improvement, depth, and added depth. Generally, any specialist who receives a deficient score in one or more measures may be required to attend a meeting with the Performance Improvement Action Committee, or the Market Performance Committee.

While the Exchange believes that the SPEP program has been a very successful and effective tool for measuring specialist performance, it realizes that modifications are necessary because of recent changes in the industry, particularly decimalization. Accordingly, the Exchange is seeking to extend the pilot period of this program so that evaluation and modification of the SPEP program can be undertaken before permanent approval is requested.

2. Basis

The statutory basis for the proposed rule change is section 6(b)(5)[2] of the Act in that the proposed rule change is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, 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, and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers or dealers.

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

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition.

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

The Exchange has neither solicited nor received comments on the proposed rule change.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

The foregoing rule change has become effective upon filing pursuant to section 19(b)(3)[3] of the Act and paragraph (f) of Rule 19b-4[4] thereunder because the proposal (1) does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; (3) by its terms, does not become operative for 30 days after the date of the filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest; and the Exchange provided the Commission with written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of the filing of the proposed rule change,[5] or such shorter time as designated by the Commission.

At any time within 60 days of the filing of such proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

The Commission designates that the proposal become operative on March 31, 2002, because it is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest to continue the pilot program uninterrupted and permit the Exchange to continue to evaluate the pilot program in light of changes in the marketplace.[6]

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposal 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 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-BSE-2002-03 and should be submitted by April 23, 2002.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority[7] .

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  BSE submitted this proposed rule change on March 8, 2002. The Commission deems the initial filing to meet the notice of intent to file requirement.

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6.  For purposes only of accelerating the operative date of this proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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[FR Doc. 02-7873 Filed 4-1-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P