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Self-Regulatory Organizations; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change by Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. Relating to Certain Rules Governing Participation in Crossing Transactions Effected on the Exchange

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Start Preamble February 19, 2003.

On November 21, 2002, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“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 amend certain Phlx Rules governing participation in crossing transactions effected on the Exchange. Specifically, the Phlx proposes to amend Phlx Rule 126, adding Supplementary Material (h) instituting an alternative procedure for crossing certain orders of 10,000 shares or greater (the “Alternative Procedure”). In addition, the Phlx proposes to amend Phlx Rule 229B, to allow specialists and floor brokers on the Exchange's equity floor to take advantage of the Alternative Procedures electronically. The proposed rule change, as amended, was published for notice and comment in the Federal Register on January 15, 2003.[3] The Commission received no comments on the proposed rule change.

The Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange [4] and, in particular, the requirements of Section 6 of the Act [5] and the rules and regulations thereunder. The Commission finds specifically that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [6] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [7] in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

The Exchange is concerned that in a decimal pricing environment a portion of the crossing business and corresponding Exchange volume could evaporate unless members and their customers receive the protection offered by the Alternative Procedures. The Commission believes that the Alternative Procedures strike a balance of interests of those members who are impacted by crossing transactions. Members attempting to execute crosses for their customers may be interested, on behalf of their customers, in obtaining a rapid execution of their order at a single price. Members submitting Updated Quotations may be interested in executing against with a portion of one side or the other of the cross because they see this as a favorable trade. The Commission finds that the proposal appears to be reasonably designed to allow both interests to be fulfilled by streamlining the crossing procedures while retaining the right of members to represent their best bid or offer through their response to the request for an Updated Quotation. The Commission also finds that the proposal protects the priority of agency orders by requiring that in no event shall an agency order in the book, having time priority, remain unexecuted after any other order at its price has been effected.

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act [8] , that the proposed rule change, as amended (SR-Amex-2002-76), be, and hereby is, approved.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[9]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47140 (January 8, 2003), 68 FR 2098.

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4.  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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[FR Doc. 03-4357 Filed 2-24-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P