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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 a Six-Month Extension of the Automatic Execution System Incentive Pilot Program

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Start Preamble December 24, 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 December 18, 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 Exchange. The proposed rule change has been filed by the PCX 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 PCX is proposing to extend the Automatic Execution System (“Auto-Ex”) Incentive Pilot Program for six months. The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Office of the Secretary, PCX and at the Commission.

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.

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

1. Purpose

On June 7, 2002, the Commission approved, on a six-month pilot basis, the Exchange's proposal to amend PCX rule 6.87, which governs the operation of Auto-Ex [4] to provide an Auto-Ex Incentive Program for apportioning Auto-Ex trades among Market Makers.[5] The pilot program is currently set to expire on December 24, 2002.[6]

The Auto-Ex Incentive Program allows the Exchange to assign Auto-Ex orders to logged-on Market Makers according to their percentage of their in-person agency [7] contracts traded in an issue (excluding Auto-Ex contracts traded) compared to all of the Market Maker in-person agency contracts traded (excluding Auto-Ex contracts) during the review period. The review period is determined by the Options Floor Trading Committee (“OFTC”) and may be for any period of time not in excess of two weeks.[8] The percentage distribution determined for a review period will be effective for the succeeding review period.

The Exchange is requesting an additional extension of the pilot program for six months from December 24, 2002, through June 24, 2003. The added time permits the Exchange to finalize a proposed amendment to its program in order that the participation percentages of Market Makers who are temporarily away from the trading floor may be reinstated in some fashion. Therefore, the Exchange believes that a six-month extension of the program is warranted.

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2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with section 6(b) of the Act,[9] in general, and furthers the objectives of section 6(b)(5),[10] in particular, in that it is designed to facilitate transactions in securities, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, enhance competition and 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, 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 were neither solicited nor received.

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

The proposed rule change has been filed by the Exchange as a “non-controversial” rule change pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [11] and rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[12] Because the foregoing proposed rule change, as amended: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest, (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition, and (3) by its terms does not become operative for 30 days after the date of this filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, provided that the self-regulatory organization has given the Commission 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 filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [13] and rule 19b-4(f)(6)[14] thereunder.

The Exchange has requested that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay requirement, to permit the Exchange to implement the proposal immediately. Under rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii), a proposed “non-controversial” rule change does not become operative for 30 days after the date of filing, unless the Commission designates a shorter time.

The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. Acceleration of the operative date will allow for the continued operation of PCX's Auto-Ex Incentive Pilot Program without interruption.[15] For this reason, the Commission designates the proposed rule change to be effective and operative upon its filing with the Commission. 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 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 the File No. SR-PCX-2002-78 and should be submitted by January 23, 2003.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[16]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

4.  Auto-Ex is the Exchange's Automated Execution system feature of the Pacific Options Exchange Trading System (“POETS”) for market or marketable limit orders. POETS is the Exchange's automated trading system comprised of an options order routing system, Auto-Ex, an on-line limit order book system, and an automatic market quote update system. Option orders may be sent to POETS via the Exchange's Member Firm Interface (“MFI”). Market and marketable limit orders sent through the MFI will be executed by Auto-Ex if they meet order type and size requirements of the Exchange.

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5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46115 (June 25, 2002), 67 FR 44494 (July 2, 2002).

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6.  The proposed rule changes were, in part, based on CBOE rule 6.8 Interpretations and Policies .06(c) “100 Spoke RAES Wheel”.

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7.  Agency contracts are those contracts that are represented by an agent and do not include contracts traded between Market Makers in person in the trading crowd.

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8.  The OFTC has set a two-week review period for all options classes and the OFTC will not vary the term of the review period except for exigent circumstances.

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

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[FR Doc. 02-33122 Filed 12-31-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P