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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. to Extend Pilot Relating to Its Allocation Policy for Trading of Exchange-Traded Funds Traded on an Unlisted Trading Privileges Basis

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Start Preamble May 6, 2002.

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 May 6, 2002, the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Exchange” or “NYSE”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the NYSE. The proposed rule change has been filed by the NYSE as a “non-controversial” rule change under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) of the Act.[3] 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 proposed rule change seeks to extend the pilot relating to the Exchange's policy for allocating Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”) admitted to trading on the Exchange on an Unlisted Trading Privileges Basis (“UTP”) for an additional year. The pilot is set to expire on May 7, 2002. For purposes of the Allocation Policy, ETFs include both Investment Company Units (as defined in paragraph 703.16 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual) and Trust Issued Receipts (as defined in NYSE Rule 1200), which trade UTP.

Since the inception of the Allocation Policy, 30 different ETFs have been successfully allocated. This includes 17 Merrill Lynch Holding Company Depositary Receipts (HOLDRs), a type of Trust Issued Receipt, 9 different types of Select Sector SPDRs, 1 MidCap SPDR, the Nasdaq-100 Index Tracking Stock (symbol QQQ), the Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts (symbol SPY), and The Dow Industrials DIAMONDS (symbol DIA). Start Printed Page 32074

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 NYSE 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 NYSE 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 Allocation Policy was originally filed as a one-year pilot, which was approved by the Commission on May 7, 2001.[4] Certain aspects of the pilot program were subsequently amended.[5] The pilot program is due to expire on May 7, 2002. Therefore, the NYSE is seeking to extend the pilot relating to the Allocation Policy for an additional year.

Under the Allocation Policy, the ETFs traded on a UTP basis are allocated by a special committee, consisting of the Chairman of the Allocation Committee, the three most senior Floor broker members of the Allocation Committee, and four members of the Exchange's senior management as designated by the Chairman of the Exchange. This permits Exchange management, acting with key members of the Allocation Committee, to oversee directly the introduction of the UTP concept to the NYSE. For purposes of the Allocation Policy, ETFs collectively include Investment Company Units (as defined in paragraph 703.16 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual) and Trust Issued Receipts (as defined in NYSE Exchange Rule 1200).

Under the Allocation Policy, allocation applications are solicited by the Exchange, and the special committee reviews the same performance and disciplinary material reviewed by the Allocation Committee for allocating listed stocks on the Exchange.[6] In addition, specialist unit applicants are required to demonstrate:

(a) An understanding of the trading characteristics of ETFs;

(b) Expertise in the trading of derivatively-priced instruments;

(c ) Ability and willingness to engage in hedging activity as appropriate;

(d) Knowledge of other markets in which the ETF to be allocated trades;

(e) Willingness to provide financial and other support to relevant Exchange publicity and educational initiatives.

The special committee reviews specialist unit applications and reaches its allocation decision by majority vote. Any tie vote is decided by the Chairman of the Exchange. The Exchange has determined that, due to the unique aspects of certain ETF products, it may be helpful for the special committee to meet with and interview specialist units before making an allocation decision.

A specialist organization cannot be both the specialist in the ETF and the specialist in any security that is a component of the ETF. This restriction is necessary to avoid the possibility of “wash sales” in a situation where the specialist in the ETF needs to hedge by buying or selling component stocks of the ETF, and could inadvertently be trading with a proprietary bid or offer made by a specialist in the same member organization who is making a market in the component security.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [7] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [8] in particular, because it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, 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 that is not necessary in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

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

If the foregoing proposed rule change: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) does not become operative for 30 days from the date of filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, the proposed rule change may become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [9] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[10] The Exchange has requested that the Commission waive the five-day pre-filing requirement and designate that the proposed rule change become operative immediately to permit the Exchange to continue the pilot program on an uninterrupted basis.

The Commission believes that it is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest to waive the five-day pre-filing requirement and designate the proposal immediately operative.[11] Accelerating the operative date and waiving the pre-filing requirement will permit the Exchange to continue the pilot program without undue delay. In addition, the Commission did not receive any comments on the original pilot program. Thus, the pilot program is extended through May 8, 2003. At any time within 60 days of the filing of the 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.

IV. 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 Start Printed Page 32075change 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 NYSE. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-NYSE-2002-17 and should be submitted by June 3, 2002.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[12]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

4.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 44272 (May 7, 2001), 66 FR 26898 (May 15, 2001) (SR-NYSE-2001-07).

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5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 44306 (May 15, 2001), 66 FR 28008 (May 21, 2001) (SR-NYSE-2001-10); and 45729 (April 10, 2002), 67 FR 18970 (April 17, 2002) (SR-NYSE-2002-07).

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6.  See Section IV of the Allocation Policy and Procedures approved in Securities Exchange Act No. 42746 (May 2, 2000), 65 FR 30171 (May 10, 2000) (SR-NYSE-99-34) for details of the performance and disciplinary material available to the Allocation Committee.

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11.  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. 02-11888 Filed 5-10-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P