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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the Pacific Exchange, Inc. Relating to Bid-Ask Spread Differentials for Options

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Start Preamble May 23, 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 April 22, 2002, the Pacific Exchange, Inc. (“PCX” 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 PCX. On May 3, 2002, the PCX filed an amendment to the proposed rule change.[3] The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as amended, from interested persons.

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

The PCX is proposing to amend Exchange Rule 6.37 to increase the maximum bid/ask spread differential for options from $.75 to $.80 where the bid price of an option is greater than $10 but does not exceed $20. The text of the proposed rule change is set forth below. Additions are in italics; deletions are in brackets.

* * * * *

Rule 6.37

* * * * *

(b)(1) Bidding and/or offering so as to create differences of no more than

(A)-(C)—No change.

(D) no more than .80 [.75] where the bid is more than $10 but does not exceed $20, and

(E) No change.

(2)-(4)—No change.

* * * * *

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 PCX 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 PCX has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements. Start Printed Page 38174

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

1. Purpose

Pursuant to the industry-wide conversion of pricing from fractions to decimals, the Exchange converted all options prices in its rules to decimals, i.e., dollars and cents. Among the rules affected by the conversion of prices was PCX Rule 6.37, which relates to obligations of market makers. This rule stated that in the course of maintaining fair and orderly markets, market makers could set price differentials of 3/4 of a point where the bid was more than $10 but does not exceed $20. Upon conversion to decimal pricing, the Exchange converted 3/4 of a point price differential to a $.75 price differential.

A related rule regarding trading differentials provides that the maximum price variation (“MPV”) for issues traded at $3.00 or greater is $.10. As a consequence of the conversion, the .10 MPV bars market makers from setting price differentials of 75 cents as exists under the current rules and instead requires them to quote the differentials as either $.70 or $.80. Because the $.70 value provides less of a spread differential than was permitted before the conversion, and because current PCX Rule 6.37 does not permit a spread differential higher than $.75, the Exchange proposes to amend Rule 6.37 to increase the price differential by $.05 so that it may set the price differential to $.80 for issues that trade for over $3.00, but less than $10.00.

2. Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,[4] in general, and further the objectives of Section 6(b)(5),[5] in particular, in that it is designed to facilitate transactions in securities, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, and to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system.

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

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change, as amended, will impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate 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

Written comments on the proposed rule change were neither solicited nor received.

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

Because the foregoing proposed rule change, as amended, does not: (i) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative for 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate,[6] it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [7] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) [8] thereunder. At any time within 60 days of the filing of Amendment No. 1 to 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.

The PCX has requested that the Commission accelerate the operative date. The Commission believes that it is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest and therefore finds good cause to designate the proposal to become immediately operative upon filing. Acceleration of the operative date and waiver of the 5-day pre-filing requirement will permit the PCX to amend Rule 6.37 to reflect the PCX's $.10 MPV without undue delay. For these reasons, the Commission finds good cause to designate that the proposal become operative immediately upon filing. [9]

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change, as amended, 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 PCX. All submissions should refer to the File No. SR-PCX-2002-22 and should be submitted by June 21, 2002.

Start Signature

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

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  Letter from Mai S. Shiver, Senior Attorney, Regulatory Policy, PCX, to Nancy J. Sanow, Assistant Director, Division of Market Regulation, dated May 2, 2002 (“Amendment No. 1”). The proposed rule change was originally submitted pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(i) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(1) thereunder. The Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to designate the filing as having been filed pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder. The Exchange also requested the Commission to waive the 5-day pre-filing requirement and the 30-day delayed operative period.

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6.  The Exchange requested the Commission to waive 5-day pre-filing notice requirement and the 30-day operative period. See Amendment No. 1, supra note 3.

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9.  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. 02-13624 Filed 5-30-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P