Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”), notice is hereby given that on July 3, 2002, The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) 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 primarily by OCC. 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 would amend OCC Rule 803 to provide that assignments of exercise notices will be dated and effective on the same date that the applicable exercise notice was accepted by OCC.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, OCC 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. OCC 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
The purpose of this rule change is to modify Rule 803 to provide that assignments will be dated and effective on the same date that the related exercise notice was accepted by OCC. Rule 803(b) currently provides that assignments are dated and effective as of the business day following the exercise date. This reflects the mechanics of OCC's processing. OCC assigns exercises on an overnight basis, but assigned clearing members do not receive notice of assignment until the morning of the day after exercise. OCC's practice has been to date assignments as of the day the assigned clearing members receive the notice of assignment. However, the trade (i.e., the purchase or sale of stock) resulting from the exercise is treated as having occurred on the exercise date not the assignment date. Thus, settlement takes place on the third business day following the exercise date.
This has the potential to cause confusion for call writers. OCC has learned that some, if not all, clearing members use the same assignment date Start Printed Page 54690as OCC. As a result, when a holder exercises a call on the day before an ex-dividend date in order to capture the dividend, the writer who is assigned the exercise may see an assignment date the same as the ex-dividend date. The writer's broker may then have to explain that the writer is required to give up the dividend to the exercising holder because the exercise occurred before the ex-dividend date even though the assignment did not. While the language of this filing reflects OCC's current business of clearing and settling exchange traded options, the filing and the change to OCC's by-laws and rules extend to matching trade information from national securities exchanges, national securities associations, futures merchants, security futures markets, and international markets for which OCC clears and settles transactions. Dating assignments on the same date as the related exercise will lessen the potential for this kind of confusion.
Other, nonsubstantive changes are proposed for Rule 803 for the purposes of updating obsolete language. In addition, a conforming change is made to Rule 402, which pertains to supplemental reports of matched trades.
OCC believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with section 17A of the Act because it eliminates a potential source for investor confusion.
(B) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
OCC does not believe that the proposed rule change would impose any burden on competition.
(C) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received from Members, Participants, or Others
Written comments were not and are not intended to be solicited with respect to the proposed rule change, and none have been received.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
Within thirty five days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to ninety days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the self-regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:
(a) By order approve the proposed rule change or
(b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.
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 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 Section, 450 Fifth Street NW., Washington, DC 20549. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of OCC. All submissions should refer to the File No. SR-OCC-2002-15 and should be submitted by September 13, 2002.Start Signature
For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
2. The Commission has modified parts of these statements.Back to Citation
3. OCC Rule 902.Back to Citation
4. OCC Rules 912 and 913(e).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 02-21519 Filed 8-22-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P