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Self-Regulatory Organizations; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change and Amendment No. 1 Thereto by the American Stock Exchange LLC to Permit Limited Side-by-Side Trading and Integrated Market Making of Certain iShares Lehman Treasury Index Exchange-Traded Fund Shares and Their Related Options

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Start Preamble February 5, 2003.

I. Introduction

On November 18, 2002, the American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] a proposed rule change to permit limited side-by-side trading and integrated market making of certain iShares Lehman Treasury Index exchange-traded fund shares and their related options.[3] The Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change on December 3, 2002.[4] The proposed rule change, as amended, was published for comment in the Federal Register on December 27, 2002.[5] The Commission received no comment letters on the proposed rule change. This order approves the proposed rule change, as amended.

After careful review, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.[6] In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change to permit limited side-by-side trading and integrated market making of iShares Lehman Treasury Index ETFs and their related options is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act.[7]

Previously, the Commission approved a similar proposed rule change by the Amex to allow side-by-side trading and integrated market making of ETFs and trust issued receipts (“TIRs”) and their related options, so long as the component securities of the ETF or TIR satisfy certain criteria.[8] The Exchange now proposes to permit side-by-side trading and integrated market making of broad based iShares Lehman Treasury Index ETFs (composed of highly liquid treasury securities) and their related options. The Commission believes that this proposal does not raise significant new regulatory issues. Specifically, ETFs and TIRs are securities that are based on groups of stocks and whose prices are based on the prices of their component securities. Accordingly, the Commission believes that a market participant's ability to manipulate the price of the ETF, TIR or related option is limited. In addition, the Treasury securities that compose the iShares Lehman Treasury Index ETFs have more than $150 million par outstanding and Start Printed Page 6975are highly liquid, which should reduce the likelihood that any market participant has an unfair information advantage about the ETF, its related options, or its component securities, or that a market participant would be able to manipulate the prices of the ETF or related options. Moreover, to address concerns about any market participant having an unfair competitive advantage over others in the crowd, Exchange Rule 174 requires integrated specialists in a side-by-side trading environment to disclose trading interest on the limit order book in iShares Lehman Treasury Index ETFs and related options upon request.[9] Lastly, the Commission expects the Exchange to continuously surveil these trading arrangements regularly and to assess its surveillance procedures to determine whether they are adequate for the new trading arrangements to ensure that market participants do not engage in manipulative or improper trading practices.

II. Conclusion

For the foregoing reasons, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with the requirements of the Act and rules and regulations thereunder.

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[10] that the proposed rule change (SR-Amex-2002-96), as amended, is approved.

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For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[11]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

3.  The exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) covered by this proposal are the iShares Lehman 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund (the “1-3 Year Bond Fund”), the iShares Lehman 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund (the “7-10 Year Bond Fund”), the iShares Lehman 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (the “20+Year Bond Fund”) (collectively, the “iShares Lehman Treasury Index ETFs”).

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4.  See letter from Jeffrey P. Burns, Assistant General Counsel, Amex, to Kelly McCormick-Riley, Senior Special Counsel, Division of Market Regulation (“Division”), Commission, dated November 27, 2002 (“Amendment No. 1”).

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5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47071 (December 18, 2002), 67 FR 79174.

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6.  In approving this proposed rule change, 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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8.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46213 (July 16, 2002), 67 FR 48232 (July 23, 2002). The criteria that the component securities of an ETF or TIR must meet are set forth in Commentary .03(a) to Amex Rule 1000 and Commentary .02(a) to Amex Rule 1000A.

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9.  Telephone conversation between Jeffrey P. Burns, Assistant General Counsel, Amex, and Christopher Solgan, Attorney, Division, Commission, on February 4, 2003.

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[FR Doc. 03-3381 Filed 2-10-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P