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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the International Securities Exchange, Inc., To Provide for the Trading of Options on Fixed-Income Exchange-Traded Funds

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Start Preamble July 25, 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 July 22, 2003, the International Securities Exchange, Inc. (“ISE” or “Exchange”) 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 ISE. ISE filed the proposed rule change pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [3] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[4] which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. 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 Exchange is proposing to amend Rule 500(h) to allow the listing of options on fixed-income exchange-traded funds. Below is the text of the proposed rule change. New text is in italics. Proposed deletions are in [brackets].

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Rule 500. Criteria for Underlying Securities

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(h) Securities deemed appropriate for options trading shall include shares or other securities (“Fund Shares”) that represent interests in registered investment companies (or series thereof) organized as open-end management investment companies, unit investment trusts or similar entities that are principally traded on a national securities exchange or through the facilities of a national securities association and reported as “national market” securities, and that hold portfolios of securities comprising or otherwise based on or representing investments in broad-based indexes or portfolios of securities (or that hold securities in one or more other registered investment companies that themselves hold such portfolios of securities) (“Funds”); provided that all of the following conditions are met:

(1) any non-U.S. component securities [stocks] of the index or portfolio on which the Fund Shares are based that are not subject to comprehensive surveillance agreements do not in the aggregate represent more than 50% of the weight of the index or portfolio;

(2) securities [Stocks] for which the primary market is in any one country that is not subject to a comprehensive surveillance agreement do not represent 20% or more of the weight of the index;

(3) securities [stocks] for which the primary market is in any two countries that are not subject to comprehensive surveillance agreements do not represent 33% or more of the weight of the index; and

(4) the Fund Shares either (i) meet the criteria and guidelines set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) above; or (ii) the Fund Shares are available for creation or redemption each business day from or through the Fund in cash or in kind at a price related to net asset value, and the Fund is obligated to issue Fund Shares in a specified aggregate number even if some or all of the securities required to be deposited have not been received by the Fund, subject to the condition that the person obligated to deposit the securities has undertaken to deliver the securities as soon as possible and such undertaking is secured by the delivery and maintenance of collateral consisting of cash or cash equivalents satisfactory to the Fund, all as described in the Fund's prospectus.

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

In its filing with the Commission, ISE 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 ISE 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

The Exchange states that it proposes to amend its rules to allow the trading of options on fixed-income exchange-traded funds. This rule change is consistent with a change to the rules of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (“CBOE”) previously approved by the Commission.[5] Specifically, under ISE Rule 500(e), the Exchange may list options on Fund Shares provided that certain conditions are met with respect to the components of the underlying exchange-traded fund. The Exchange proposes to amend the conditions contained in Rule 500(h) to refer to the component “securities” of a fund, rather than the component “stocks” of the fund, so that fixed-income funds will be covered by the Rule.

2. Statutory Basis

The basis under the Act for this proposed rule change is the requirement under section 6(b)(5)[6] to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism for a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

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

The proposed rule change does not 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

The Exchange has not solicited, and does not intend to solicit, comments on this proposed rule change. The Exchange has not received any unsolicited written comments from members or other interested parties.

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

The ISE provided the SEC with written notice of its intention to file the proposed rule change at least five business days before its filing. Moreover, the ISE has designated the Start Printed Page 45299proposed rule change as one that: (i) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) does not impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) does not become operative for 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate. Therefore, the foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [7] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[8] At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate the rule change if it appears to the Commission that the action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or would otherwise further the purposes of the Act.

Pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) under the Act,[9] the proposal does not become operative for 30 days after the date of its filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The ISE has requested that the Commission waive the 30-day operative date so that the proposed rule change will become immediately effective upon filing.

The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative date is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest.[10] Accelerating the operative date will allow the ISE to implement immediately listing standards similar to ones already in place at the CBOE, and allow customers greater choices in their order routing decisions.[11] For these reasons, the Commission designates that the proposed rule change as effective and operative immediately.

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 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 ISE. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-ISE-2003-19 and should be submitted by August 22, 2003.

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For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[12]

Jill M. Peterson,

Assistant Secretary.

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Footnotes

5.  Release No. 34-46435 (August 29, 2002), 67 FR 57046 (September 6, 2002) (File No. SR-CBOE-2002-47).

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9.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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10.  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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11.  See n. 5, supra.

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[FR Doc. 03-19616 Filed 7-31-03; 8:45 am]

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