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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Government Securities Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Institute Informal Hearing Procedures for Fine Disputes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble August 26, 2003.

Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] notice is hereby given that on June 28, 2002, the Government Securities Clearing Corporation (“GSCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) and on August 19, 2003, amended the proposed rule change described in Items I, II, and III below, which items have been prepared primarily by GSCC. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested parties.

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

GSCC's current rules provide procedures whereby a member can dispute any fine through a formal hearing process. GSCC's rules also permit GSCC to establish procedures for a hearing not otherwise provided for in its rules. The proposed rule change would allow GSCC to institute informal hearing procedures for disputed fines.

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

In its filing with the Commission, GSCC 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. GSCC has prepared summaries, set forth in sections (A), (B), and (C) below, of the most significant aspects of these statements.[2]

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

Since 1998, GSCC has had the authority to impose fines in order to promote greater compliance with its funds settlement debit and clearing fund deposit deficiency call deadlines.[3] GSCC Rule 37 contains procedures whereby a member can dispute any fine assessment through a formal hearing process. Rule 37 also permits GSCC to establish procedures for a hearing not otherwise provided for in the rules.[4] With this proposed rule filing, GSCC seeks authority to specifically incorporate into its rules informal hearing procedures with respect to disputed fines.

Pursuant to GSCC's new procedures, when a formal hearing is requested to dispute a fine, an informal hearing will automatically take place prior to a formal hearing occurring. Thus, if a member disputes a fine and asks for a formal hearing in the manner already specified in the rules, GSCC's management will automatically conduct a review of the disputed fine. Based on the documentation already required in the rules and/or a meeting arranged with the member, management may determine to waive the fine. If management determines to waive the fine, it must inform the Membership and Risk Management Committee of the waiver and management's reasons for granting the waiver. The Committee has the ability to accept or reject management's determination. If the Committee accepts management's determination, the fine will be waived. However, if the Committee chooses not to accept management's determination or if management initially determined not to waive the fine after conducting its review, the member has the right to the formal hearing already provided for in Rule 37.

GSCC also seeks to change its rules to reflect that if a fine is assessed, the member must pay the fine within 30 calendar days after it receives the fine Start Printed Page 52257imposition letter unless the member has requested a hearing to dispute the fine. Currently, GSCC's rules require that fines be paid within 90 days. If a hearing has been requested, the fine is waived until the dispute is resolved.

GSCC believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of section 17A of the Act [5] and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to GSCC because it will promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions by clearly setting forth in GSCC's rules its procedures for conducting a review with respect to disputed fines, which procedures afford members a fair and less burdensome method for resolving fine disputes than is currently set forth in the rules.

(B) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

GSCC does not believe that the proposed rule change will have any impact, or impose any burden, on competition.

(C) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others

Written comments relating to the proposed rule change have not yet been solicited or received. Members will be notified of the rule change filing, and comments will be solicited by an Important Notice. GSCC will notify the Commission of any written comments received by GSCC.

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

Within thirty-five days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to ninety days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the self-regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:

(A) by order approve such proposed rule change or

(B) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

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. Comments may also be submitted electronically at the following e-mail address: rule-comments@sec.gov. All comment letters should refer to File No. SR-GSCC-2002-04. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help us process and review comments more efficiently, comments should be sent in hardcopy or by e-mail but not by both methods. 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 Section, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of GSCC.

All submissions should refer to File No. SR-GSCC-2002-04 and should be submitted by September 23, 2003.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[6]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

2.  The Commission has modified the text of the summaries prepared by OCC.

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3.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 39746 (March 12, 1998), 63 FR 13439 (March 19, 1998) [File No. SR-GSCC-97-04].

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4.  Government Securities Clearing Corporation Rule 37, Section 7.

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[FR Doc. 03-22232 Filed 8-29-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P