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Options Price Reporting Authority; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Amendment to OPRA Plan to Revise Fees Charged by OPRA

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Start Preamble October 17, 2002.

Pursuant to Rule 11Aa3-2 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] notice is hereby given that on October 4, 2002, the Options Price Reporting Authority (“OPRA”)[2] submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) an amendment to the Plan for Reporting of Consolidated Options Last Sale Reports and Start Printed Page 65384Quotation Information (“OPRA Plan”). The proposed OPRA Plan amendment would revise device-based and Enterprise Rate professional subscriber fees charged by OPRA in respect of its Basic Service, and eliminate OPRA's “Back-up Facility Access Fee.” The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments from interested persons on the proposed OPRA Plan amendment.

I. Description and Purpose of the Amendment

The purpose of the amendment is to make modest increases in device-based and Enterprise Rate professional subscriber fees charged by OPRA in respect of its Basic Service. Specifically, OPRA proposes to increase by amounts ranging from 7.39% to 8.11% the device-based information fee payable to OPRA by professional subscribers to OPRA's Basic Service, and to increase by 7.5% the Enterprise Rate fee that these same subscribers may elect to pay as an alternative to the device-based fee. OPRA's Basic Service consists of market data and related information pertaining to equity and index options (“OPRA Data”).[3] Professional subscribers are persons who subscribe to OPRA Data and do not qualify for the reduced fees charged to nonprofessional subscribers. OPRA's Enterprise Rate is based on the number of a professional subscriber's U.S. registered representatives and independent investment advisers who contract with the subscriber to provide advisory services to the subscriber's customers. Professional subscriber device-based fees charged to members will continue to be discounted by two percent for members who preauthorize payment by electronic funds transfer through an automated clearinghouse system.

OPRA estimates that the overall effect of the proposed increases in Basic Service professional subscriber fees will be to increase revenues derived from these fees by approximately 7.5%.

The proposed increases in the device-based professional subscriber fees and in the Enterprise Rate fee are intended to generate additional revenues for OPRA that are needed to cover actual and anticipated increases in the costs of collecting, consolidating, processing and disseminating options market. These increases reflect the costs of continuing enhancements to and upgrades of the OPRA system to enable it to handle a greater volume of market information as a result of the continuing expansion of listed options trading, and to support OPRA's proposed new “best bid and offer” service planned for early 2003.

OPRA also proposes to eliminate its “Back-up Facility Access Fee,” in order to eliminate any possible impact this fee may have on discouraging OPRA's subscribers from establishing prudent back-up facilities.[4] Devices used solely as part of a back-up facility will no longer be subject to fees imposed by OPRA unless and until they are actually used in support of a professional subscriber's operations, in which event regular professional subscriber device charges will apply for each month in which such devices are so used.

II. Implementation of the OPRA Plan Amendment

Pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(i) of Rule 11Aa3-2 under the Act,[5] OPRA designates this amendment as establishing or changing a fee or other charge collected on behalf of all of the OPRA participants in connection with access to or use of OPRA facilities, thereby qualifying for effectiveness upon filing. The Commission may summarily abrogate the amendment within sixty days of its filing and require refiling and approval of the amendment by Commission order pursuant to Rule 11Aa3-2(c)(2) under the Act,[6] if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest; for the protection of investors and the maintenance of fair and orderly markets; to remove impediments to, and perfect the mechanisms of, a national market system; or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. In order to give persons subject to these fees advance notice of the changes, OPRA proposes to put them into effect beginning January 1, 2003.

III. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed OPRA Plan amendment 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, and all written statements with respect to the proposed OPRA Plan amendment that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed OPRA Plan amendment between the Commission and any person, other than those 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 the filing also will be available at the principal offices of OPRA. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-OPRA-2002-04 and should be submitted by November 14, 2002.

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

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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2.  OPRA is a national market system plan approved by the Commission pursuant to Section 11A of the Act and Rule 11Aa3-2 thereunder. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 17638 (Mar. 18, 1981). The OPRA Plan provides for the collection and dissemination of last sale and quotation information on options that are traded on the member exchanges. The five participants to the OPRA Plan that operate an options market are the American Stock Exchange LLC, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., the International Securities Exchange LLC, the Pacific Exchange, Inc., and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. The New York Stock Exchange, Inc. is a signatory to the OPRA Plan, but sold its options business to the CBOE in 1997. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 38542 (April 23, 1997), 62 FR 23521 (April 30, 1997).

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3.  At this time, no changes are proposed to be made to fees charged for access to information pertaining to foreign currency options (“FCO”) provided through OPRA's FCO Service.

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4.  The Back-up Facility Access Fee does not apply to OPRA's FCO Service.

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5.  17 CFR 240.11Aa3-2(c)(3)(i).

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[FR Doc. 02-27118 Filed 10-23-02; 8:45 am]