Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”), and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on August 28, 2003, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”), through its subsidiary, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (“Nasdaq”), filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by Nasdaq. On September 29, 2003, Nasdaq amended the proposed rule change. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as amended, from interested persons and to approve the proposed rule change, as amended, on an accelerated basis.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
Nasdaq is proposing to extend retroactively to September 1, 2003, and prospectively to March 1, 2004, a pilot program that enables members that are registered as market makers or electronic communications networks (“ECNs”) to request and receive a second market participant identifier (“MMID”) with which to enter a second Attributable Quote/Order in the Nasdaq Quotation Montage. The text of the proposed rule change is set forth below. Proposed deletions are in [brackets]; proposed new language is in italics.
4613.Character of Quotations
(a) Quotation Requirements and Obligations
(1) No Change.
(2) For a [two] six-month pilot period beginning September 1, 2003, market makers and ECNs may request the use of a second MMID. A market maker may request the use of a second MMID for displaying Attributable Quotes/Orders in the Nasdaq Quotation Montage for any security in which it is registered and meets the obligations set forth in subparagraph (1) of this rule. An ECN may request the use of a second MMID for displaying Attributable Quotes/Orders in the Nasdaq Quotation Montage for any security in which it meets the obligations set forth in Rule 4623. A market maker or ECN that ceases to meet the obligations appurtenant to its first MMID in any security shall not be permitted to use the second MMID for any purpose in that security.
(3) No Change.
(b)-(e) No Change.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, Nasdaq included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change, as amended, 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 III below. Nasdaq 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
An NASD member that registers as a market maker or ECN is permitted to enter one two-sided quotation per security in the Nasdaq Quotation Start Printed Page 59833Montage, and is assigned a unique MMID with which to enter such quotations. The NASD 4600 Rule Series governs the character of such quotations and the rights and obligations of members that display quotations in the Nasdaq Quotation Montage via their MMIDs. The NASD Rule 4700 Series sets forth the rights and obligations of members that participate in the Nasdaq National Market Execution System (“SuperMontage”), including the entry of quotes and orders and the display of quotations. Numerous other NASD and Commission rules govern the conduct of members in their use of MMIDs to enter and execute orders and display quotes, including, for example, NASD IM-2110-2 (the “Manning Interpretation”), NASD Rule 6950 (the “Order Audit Trail System”), and NASD Rule 2320 (the “Best Execution” rule).
Effective July 1, 2003, Nasdaq amended NASD Rule 4613(a) for a two-month pilot period to permit market makers and ECNs to request the use of a second MMID for displaying Attributable Quotes/Orders in the Nasdaq Quotation Montage (the “Pilot”). Under the Pilot, a market maker may request the use of a second MMID for displaying Attributable Quotes/Orders in any security in which it is registered and meets the obligations set forth in NASD Rule 4613(a)(1), including the maintenance of a continuous two-sided quotation. The Pilot also provides that an ECN may request the use of a second MMID for displaying Attributable Quotes/Orders in the Nasdaq Quotation Montage for any security in which it meets the obligations set forth in NASD Rule 4623.
Through this rule filing, Nasdaq is proposing to extend the Pilot retroactively to September 1, 2003, and prospectively to March 1, 2004. Since the Pilot began, Nasdaq has granted two market makers' applications for second MMIDs for displaying additional Attributable Quotes/Orders. As of the date of this filing, Nasdaq represents that neither market maker has begun displaying additional Attributable Quotes/Orders under the Pilot. In addition, three ECNs are authorized to use second MMIDs for displaying additional Attributable Quotes/Orders in SuperMontage. Nasdaq represents that those ECNs were authorized to use second MMIDs prior to the launch of the Pilot. However, Nasdaq believes that their continued use of the second MMIDs is subsumed within the later-filed Pilot. According to Nasdaq, two of those three ECNs are currently using second MMIDs for displaying additional Attributable Quotes/Orders in SuperMontage.
Nasdaq believes the Pilot, though not yet widely used by NASD members, will prove to be an important step in the evolution of its marketplace. Nasdaq represents that trading of Nasdaq securities has changed rapidly and dramatically due to increasingly sophisticated routing and linkage systems that are available to public investors, institutions, broker/dealers and vendors. Nasdaq believes that the ability to enter quotes and orders and to display quotations under a second MMID would help it keep pace with recent changes and allow it to offer functionality that market participants already find elsewhere today. Nasdaq believes that the Pilot should also improve the quality of executions within Nasdaq by enabling members to contribute more liquidity to the market and add to the transparency of trading interest. Due to the surveillance procedures described below, Nasdaq believes that the Pilot should also improve the regulation of trading in Nasdaq securities to the extent members consolidate more of their trading activity in Nasdaq.
Nasdaq believes that it is essential to maintain its regulation of trading on Nasdaq at the same high level of compliance with NASD and Commission rules that it believes it has achieved to date. Except as noted in the proposed rule, members that use a second MMID would be required to comply with all NASD and Commission rules applicable to their current use of a single MMID. Members would be prohibited from using a second MMID to accomplish indirectly what they are prohibited from doing directly through a single MMID. For example, members would not be permitted to use a second MMID to avoid their Manning obligations under NASD IM-2110-2, best execution obligations under NASD Rule 2320, or their obligations under the Commission's Order Handling Rules. Members would be required to continue to comply with the firm quote rule, the OATS rules, and the Commission order routing and execution quality disclosure rules. In addition, NASD Rule 4613(a) specifically prohibits firms from displaying a second Attributable Quote/Order to engage in passive market making or to enter stabilizing bids because this could violate NASD Rules 4614 and 4619 and Regulation M under the Act. To the extent that the allocation of second MMIDs were to create regulatory confusion or ambiguity, every inference would be drawn against the use of a second MMID in a manner that would diminish the quality or rigor of the regulation of the Nasdaq market.
Nasdaq represents that it, in conjunction with NASD, has developed procedures to maintain a high level of surveillance and member compliance with its rules with respect to members' use of both Primary and Secondary MMIDs to display quotations in Nasdaq systems. Nasdaq and NASD have implemented a review process to ensure that firms utilizing second MMIDs under the Pilot do so in accordance with the terms under which use of the second MMID was granted.
Further, Nasdaq represents that new, fully automated surveillance technology has been developed to enable NASD systems to analyze trading and generate alerts at the firm level (i.e., aggregating activity across all MMIDs for a firm into one primary MMID) or the individual MMID level (i.e., treating each MMID separately), depending on the particular surveillance requirements. Nasdaq believes that the use of firm-level information is essential to detecting market participants that may exceed certain surveillance thresholds at the firm level, but would otherwise go undetected at the individual MMID level. Further, Nasdaq believes that the ability to aggregate data and analyze data at the firm level is critical to identifying instances where a firm is using different MMIDs to engage in conduct such as marking-the-close and trading ahead, among other things. Conversely, Nasdaq believes that the use of specific MMID information is critical for the surveillance of individual quotes, trades and orders for compliance with firm quote obligations, among other things.
If it were to be determined that a Secondary MMID issued under the Pilot was being used improperly, Nasdaq would withdraw its grant of the Secondary MMID for all purposes for all securities. In addition, if a market maker or ECN were to no longer fulfill the conditions appurtenant to its Primary MMID (e.g., by being placed into an unexcused withdrawal), it would not be permitted to use the Secondary MMID for any purpose in that security.
2. Statutory Basis
Nasdaq believes that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with the Act, including section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, which requires, Start Printed Page 59834among other things, that a registered national securities association's rules must be designed to promote just and equitable principles of trades, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanisms of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. Nasdaq believes that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with these requirements because it would facilitate transactions in securities, remove impediments to a free and open market, and protect investors by improving the transparency and efficiency of transactions.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
Nasdaq does not believe that the proposed rule change, as amended, will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act, as amended.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others
Written comments were neither solicited nor received.
III. 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 the filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the NASD. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-NASD-2003-137 and should be submitted by November 7, 2003.
IV. Commission's Findings and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change
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 association. In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principals of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and 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 Commission believes that an extension of the Pilot for an additional six months, retroactive to September 1, 2003, may allow market participants more time to utilize the Pilot. The Commission believes that the continued Pilot may benefit investors by increasing transparency and liquidity of trading interest in SuperMontage. The Commission also believes that the extension of the Pilot should enable Nasdaq to further evaluate the Pilot.
The Commission notes that Nasdaq has represented that it, in conjunction with NASD, has developed procedures to maintain surveillance and member compliance with NASD and Commission rules. Furthermore, the Commission notes that Nasdaq represents that a firm's Secondary MMID would be withdrawn for all purposes and for all securities if it were to be determined that the firm was using the Secondary MMID improperly.
Nasdaq has requested that the Commission find good cause for approving the proposed rule change and Amendment No. 1 thereto prior to the thirtieth day after publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register. The Commission believes that granting accelerated approval to extend the Pilot for an additional six months, and making such extension retroactive to September 1, 2003, will allow Nasdaq to continue, without interruption, the existing operation of the Pilot. Accordingly, the Commission finds good cause, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act, for approving the proposed rule change, as amended, prior to the thirtieth day after the date of publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register.
It is therefore ordered, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (SR-NASD-2003-137), and Amendment No. 1 thereto, are hereby approved on an accelerated basis.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
3. See letter from Mary M. Dunbar, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Nasdaq, to Katherine England, Assistant Director, Division of Market Regulation, Commission, dated September 29, 2003 (“Amendment No. 1”). Amendment No. 1 replaces the proposed rule change in its entirety. In Amendment No. 1, Nasdaq corrected a statement in its initial proposal regarding the use of second MMIDs by market participants. Because Amendment No. 1 was filed after the pilot program had lapsed, Amendment No. 1 also revised the proposed rule change to convert it from a filing pursuant to Rule 19(b)(3)(A) under the Act to a filing pursuant to Rule 19(b)(2) under the Act, with a request for retroactive effectiveness.Back to Citation
4. Nasdaq originally filed the proposed rule change on August 28, 2003, designating it as a non-controversial proposed rule change suitable for immediate effectiveness pursuant to Section 19(b)(3) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder. 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A); 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). On September 29, 2003, Nasdaq submitted Amendment No. 1, which replaces the original proposed rule change in its entirety, and requested that the proposed rule change be approved retroactive to September 1, 2003.Back to Citation
5. For a more detailed explanation of the Pilot, see Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47954 (May 30, 2003), 68 FR 34017 (June 6, 2003) (File No. SR-NASD-2003-87).Back to Citation
6. Nasdaq represents that it has had no occasion to withdraw the grant of a Secondary MMID due to improper usage under the Pilot.Back to Citation
8. In approving this proposal, as amended, the Commission has considered its impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 03-26257 Filed 10-16-03; 8:45 am]
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