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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change and Amendment No. 1 Thereto by the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. Relating to Equal Firm Quotation Size and AUTO-X Guarantees for Customer and Broker-Dealer Orders

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Start Preamble April 8, 2003.

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 March 20, 2003, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Exchange” or “Phlx”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Phlx. The proposed rule change has been filed by the Phlx as a “non-controversial” rule change under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) under the Act.[3] On April 7, 2003, the Phlx filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change.[4] The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as amended, from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

The Phlx proposes to implement an options program to be firm for, and to automatically execute eligible orders against, the Exchange's disseminated size for both customer and broker-dealer orders. Specifically, the Exchange proposes to amend Exchange Rule 1082, Firm Quotations, to provide that all Phlx options quotations would be firm for all incoming customer and broker-dealer orders for their full disseminated size.

The Exchange further proposes to amend Exchange Rule 1080, Philadelphia Stock Exchange Automated Options Market (AUTOM) and Automatic Execution System (AUTO-X),[5] to provide automatic executions for eligible customer and off-floor broker-dealer orders up to the Exchange's disseminated size, subject to a maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size of 250 contracts. Options on the Nasdaq-100 Index Tracking Stock (“QQQ”SM) [6] would continue to have a maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size of 2,000 contracts in the first two near term expiration months, and 1,000 contracts for all other expiration months.[7]

Below is the text of the proposed rule change. Proposed new language is in italics; proposed deletions are in brackets.

* * * * *

Firm Quotations

Rule 1082. (a) No change.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this Rule, all quotations made available by the Exchange and displayed by quotation vendors shall be firm for customer and broker-dealer orders at the disseminated price in an amount up to the disseminated size. Responsible brokers or dealers bidding (or offering) at the disseminated price shall be collectively required to execute orders presented to them at such price up to the disseminated size in accordance with Rule 1015, or, if the responsible broker or dealer is representing (as agent) a limit order, such responsible broker or dealer shall be responsible (as agent) up to the size of such limit order, but may be responsible as principal for all or a portion of the excess of the disseminated size over the size of such limit order to the extent provided in Rule 1015.

(c) No change.

(d) [In accordance with paragraph (d)(l)(ii) of the SEC Quote Rule, the quotation size for a disseminated price with respect to an order for the account of a broker or dealer (“broker-dealer order”) shall be one (1) contract (“quotation size”), and all quotations made available by the Exchange and displayed by quotation vendors shall be firm for broker-dealer orders at the disseminated price in an amount up to the quotation size. The quotation size for broker-dealer orders provided in this paragraph (d) shall be periodically published by the Exchange. Responsible brokers or dealers bidding (or offering) at the disseminated price shall be collectively required to execute broker-dealer orders at such price up to the quotation size. (e)] If responsible brokers or dealers receive an order to buy or sell a listed option at the disseminated price in an amount greater than the disseminated size [(for customer orders) Start Printed Page 17977or the quotation size (for broker-dealer orders)], such responsible broker or dealer shall, within thirty (30) seconds of receipt of the order, (i) execute the entire order at the disseminated price (or better), or (ii) execute that portion of the order equal to the disseminated size [(in the case of a customer order) or the quotation size (in the case of a broker-dealer order)] at the disseminated price (or better), and revise its bid or offer.

Commentary:

.01. For purposes of this Rule 1082, the term “broker-dealer orders” includes orders for the account(s) of market makers on another exchange and Registered Options Traders (“ROTs”) on the Exchange.

* * * * *

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Automated Options Market (AUTOM) and Automatic Execution System (AUTO-X)

Rule 1080. (a)-(b) No change.

(c) AUTO-X.—AUTO-X is a feature of AUTOM that automatically executes eligible market and marketable limit orders up to the number of contracts permitted by the Exchange for certain strike prices and expiration months in equity options and index options, unless the Options Committee determines otherwise. AUTO-X automatically executes eligible orders using the Exchange disseminated quotation (except if executed pursuant to the NBBO Feature in sub-paragraph (i) below) and then automatically routes execution reports to the originating member organization. AUTOM orders not eligible for AUTO-X are executed manually in accordance with Exchange rules. Manual execution may also occur when AUTO-X is not engaged, such as pursuant to sub-paragraph (iv) below. An order may also be executed partially by AUTO-X and partially manually.

The Options Committee may for any period restrict the use of AUTO-X on the Exchange in any option or series provided that the effectiveness of any such restriction shall be conditioned upon its having been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Section 19(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the rules and regulations thereunder. Any such restriction on the use of AUTO-X approved by the Options Committee will be clearly communicated to Exchange membership and AUTOM users through an electronic message sent via AUTOM and through an Exchange information circular. Such restriction would not take effect until after such communication has been made.

Currently, the Exchange's maximum allowable AUTO-X guarantee is 250 contracts. With respect to options on the Nasdaq-100 Index Tracking Stock (“QQQ”)SM, orders of up to 2,000 contracts in the first two (2) near term expiration months, and 1,000 contracts for all other expiration months, are eligible for AUTO-X.

For each option, there shall be a minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size and a maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size. Such minimum and maximum sizes may be for a different number of contracts for customer orders than for broker-dealer orders], as determined by the specialist and subject to the approval of the Options Committee.

The Exchange shall provide automatic executions for eligible customer and broker-dealer orders up to the Exchange's disseminated size as defined in Exchange Rule 1082, subject to a minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size and a maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size (up to a size of 250 contracts).

  • If the Exchange's disseminated size is greater than the minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size, and less than the maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size, inbound eligible orders shall be automatically executed up to Exchange's disseminated size. Remaining contracts shall be executed manually by the specialist or placed on the limit order book.
  • If the Exchange's disseminated size is less than the minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size for that option, inbound eligible orders shall be automatically executed up to such minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size. Remaining contracts shall be executed manually by the specialist or placed on the limit order book.
  • If the Exchange's disseminated size is greater than the maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size, inbound eligible orders shall be automatically executed up to such maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size. Remaining contracts shall be executed manually by the specialist.

The minimum and maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size applicable to each option shall be posted on the Exchange's web site.

The Options Committee may, in its discretion, increase the size of orders in one or more classes of multiply-traded equity options eligible for AUTO-X to the extent necessary to match the size of orders in the same options eligible for entry into the automated execution system of any other options exchange, provided that the effectiveness of any such increase shall be conditioned upon its having been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

(i)-(v) No change.

(d)-(j) No change.

Commentary

01-.04 No change.

.05 Off-floor broker-dealer limit orders delivered through AUTOM must be represented on the Exchange Floor by a floor member. Off-floor broker-dealer orders delivered via AUTOM shall be for a minimum size of one (1) contract. Off-floor broker-dealer limit orders are subject to the following other provisions:

(i)-(iii) No Change

(iv) [(a) The minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size shall be at least 10 contracts for off-floor broker-dealer limit orders in the 120 most actively traded equity options (the “Top 120 Options”). A Top 120 Option is defined as one of the 120 most actively traded equity options in terms of the total number of contracts that were traded nationally for a specified month based on volume reflected by The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”).

(b) With respect to all other options, off-floor broker-dealer limit orders may be eligible for automatic execution via AUTO-X on an issue-by-issue basis, subject to the approval of the Options Committee.

(c) The AUTO-X guarantee for off-floor broker-dealer limit orders may be for a different number of contracts, on an issue-by-issue basis, than the AUTO-X guarantee for public customer orders, subject to the approval of the Options Committee. (v)] Off-floor broker-dealer AUTO-X eligible limit orders may be eligible for the Exchange's National Best Bid or Offer (“NBBO”) Step-Up Feature on an issue-by-issue basis, subject to the approval of the Options Committee.

* * * * *

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 Phlx 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 Phlx has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements. Start Printed Page 17978

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

1. Purpose

The Phlx proposes to require that all Phlx quotations would be firm for all incoming customer and broker-dealer orders for their full disseminated size, thus eliminating any distinction between customer orders and broker-dealer orders respecting firm quotation size. The Phlx also proposes to provide that all Phlx guaranteed AUTO-X sizes would be the same for both customer and broker-dealer orders.

a. Firm Quotation Size

Currently, Exchange Rule 1082(b) requires that all quotations made available by the Exchange and displayed by quotation vendors shall be firm for customer orders at the disseminated price in an amount up to the disseminated size. Exchange Rule 1082(d) sets forth a different “quotation size” of one contract applicable to broker-dealer orders, which is distinguished from the “disseminated size” for which responsible brokers or dealers are firm for customer orders.[8] The Exchange proposes to amend Exchange Rule 1082(b) to require that all quotations made available by the Exchange and displayed by quotation vendors shall be firm for customer orders and broker-dealer orders at the disseminated price in an amount up to the disseminated size, thus eliminating any distinction between customer orders and broker-dealer orders with respect to the size for which Exchange option quotations are firm.

The Exchange would also delete any references to “quotation size” and “broker-dealer” from Exchange Rule 1082(e). This would be to require all quotations made available by the Exchange and displayed by quotation vendors to be firm at the disseminated price in an amount up to the disseminated size for both customers and broker-dealers. The Phlx represents that the purpose of this provision is to provide both customers and broker-dealers with full access to the entire disseminated size of the Exchange's quotations. Thus, the Exchange proposes to eliminate any distinction between the size for which its quotes are firm, whether for customers or broker-dealers, including market makers on other exchanges and Registered Options Traders (“ROTs”).

b. Automatic Executions at the Disseminated Size for Eligible Customer and Broker-Dealer Orders

In November 2002, the Commission approved an Exchange proposal to provide automatic executions for eligible orders at the Exchange's disseminated size, subject to a minimum and maximum eligible size range to be determined by the specialist and subject to approval of the Options Committee, on an issue-by-issue basis.[9] The Exchange now proposes to amend Exchange Rule 1080(c) by deleting the provision that such minimum and maximum sizes may be for a different number of contracts for customer orders than for broker-dealer orders. Corresponding sections of the Commentary to Exchange Rule 1080 concerning AUTO-X eligibility and different guaranteed AUTO-X sizes for customers and broker-dealers would also be deleted. This would result in automatic executions for both eligible customer orders and eligible broker-dealer orders at the Exchange's disseminated size.

The Exchange proposes to eliminate the distinction among customer orders and broker-dealer orders respecting AUTO-X guarantees. In order to ensure that customer and broker-dealer orders receive the same AUTO-X size guarantee, the Phlx proposes to delete the current provisions in Exchange Rule 1080, Commentary .05 requiring a minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size of ten contracts for off-floor broker-dealer orders in Top 120 options. Additionally, the current Commentary includes a provision that, with respect to all other options, off-floor broker-dealer limit orders may be eligible for automatic execution via AUTO-X on an issue-by-issue basis, subject to the approval of the Options Committee. The Exchange proposes to delete this provision in order to enable all eligible broker-dealer orders to be treated the same as eligible customer orders with respect to the Exchange's guaranteed AUTO-X size.

Finally, the Exchange proposes to delete from the Commentary the provision that the AUTO-X guarantee for off-floor broker-dealer limit orders may be for a different number of contracts, on an issue-by-issue basis, than the AUTO-X guarantee for public customer orders, subject to the approval of the Options Committee.

c. Conclusion

The Exchange believes that this proposed “one size fits all” approach, as set forth in subsections a. and b. above, should enable the Exchange to compete for broker-dealer orders by ensuring that there would be no distinction between broker-dealer and customer orders with respect to: (i) the size for which the Exchange is firm at its disseminated price; and (ii) the Exchange's guaranteed AUTO-X size. Furthermore, the Exchange believes that the proposal should enhance the transparency of its markets and result in a larger number of orders automatically executed.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [10] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [11] in particular, because it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and protect investors and the public interest by requiring Exchange specialists and ROTs to be firm for up to the Exchange's disseminated size for all orders, and providing automatic executions at the same guaranteed size for all eligible orders.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any inappropriate burden on competition that is not necessary 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

No written comments were either solicited or received.

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

Because the foregoing proposed rule change: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) does not become operative for 30 days from the date of filing, or such Start Printed Page 17979shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) [12] of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) [13] thereunder.[14]

A proposed rule change filed under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) normally does not become operative prior to 30 days after the date of filing. However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The Phlx seeks to have the proposed rule change become operative immediately upon filing so that the Exchange may remain competitive with other exchanges with similar rules in effect.

The Commission, consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, has determined to waive the 30-day operative date and make the proposed rule change operative immediately upon filing, in order to allow the Phlx to compete for broker-dealer orders by removing any distinction between broker-dealer and customer orders with respect to the size for which the Exchange is firm at its disseminated price and the Exchange's guaranteed AUTO-X size.[15] 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, as amended, 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 Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Phlx. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-Phlx-2003-18 and should be submitted by May 5, 2003.

Start Signature

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

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

4.  See letter from Richard S. Rudolph, Director and Counsel, Phlx, to Deborah Lassman Flynn, Assistant Director, Division of Market Regulation, Commission, dated April 4, 2003 (“Amendment No. 1”). In Amendment No. 1, Phlx deleted certain proposed language stating that “[t]he minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size is 1 contract, and the current maximum AUTO-X size is 250 contracts, except for QQQ options”; retained current language that the minimum and maximum guaranteed AUTO-X sizes for each option will be posted in the Phlx's website; and retained current language that there be a minimum guaranteed AUTO-X size and maximum guaranteed AUTO-X size, as determined by the specialist and subject to approval of the Options Committee.

Back to Citation

5.  AUTOM is the Exchange's electronic order delivery, routing, execution and reporting system, which provides for the automatic entry and routing of equity option and index option orders to the Exchange trading floor. Orders delivered through AUTOM may be executed manually, or certain orders are eligible for AUTOM's automatic execution feature, AUTO-X. Equity option and index option specialists are required by the Exchange to participate in AUTOM and its features and enhancements. Option orders entered by Exchange members into AUTOM are routed to the appropriate specialist unit on the Exchange trading floor. See Exchange Rule 1080.

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6.  The Nasdaq-100®, Nasdaq-100 Index®, Nasdaq®, The Nasdaq Stock Market®, Nasdaq-100 SharesSM, Nasdaq-100 TrustSM, Nasdaq-100 Index Tracking StockSM, and QQQSM are trademarks or service marks of Nasdaq and have been licensed for use for certain purposes by the Philadelphia Stock Exchange pursuant to a License Agreement with Nasdaq. The Nasdaq-100 Index® (the Index) is determined, composed, and calculated by Nasdaq without regard to the Licensee, the Nasdaq-100 TrustSM, or the beneficial owners of Nasdaq-100 SharesSM. Nasdaq has complete control and sole discretion in determining, comprising, or calculating the Index or in modifying in any way its method for determining, comprising, or calculating the Index in the future.

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7.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46531 (September 23, 2002), 67 FR 61370 (September 30, 2002) (SR-Phlx-2002-47).

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8.  Rule 11Ac1-1(d)(1)(ii) under the Act provides that an exchange or association may establish by rule and periodically publish a quotation size, which shall not be for less than one contract, for which responsible brokers or dealers who are members of such exchange or association are obligated under paragraph (c)(2) of this section to execute an order to buy or sell a listed option for the account of a broker or dealer that is in an amount different from the quotation size for which it is obligated to execute an order for the account of a customer. 17 CFR 240.11Ac1-1(d)(1)(ii).

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9.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46886 (November 22, 2002), 67 FR 72015 (December 3, 2002) (SR-Phlx-2002-39).

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14.  As required under Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii), the Exchange provided the Commission with written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change at least five business days prior to the filing date or such shorter period as designated by the Commission.

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15.  For purposes only of accelerating the operative date of this proposal, 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. 03-9034 Filed 4-11-03; 8:45 am]

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