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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Elimination of the $72,000 Options Fee Cap

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 51722 August 13, 2004.

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 August 2, 2004, the American Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Amex” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Amex. The Amex submitted the proposed rule change under Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [3] and Rule 19b-4(f)(2) 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 proposes to eliminate the $72,000 monthly fee cap in single option classes applicable to specialists and registered options traders (“ROTs”). The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Amex and at the Commission.

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 Amex 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. Amex 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 Amex is proposing to eliminate the current options fee cap of $72,000 per month in any single option class for Exchange specialists and ROTs. This fee cap was originally adopted by the Exchange in November 2003 and implemented in December 2003.[5]

The Amex currently imposes charges for transactions in options executed on the Exchange by specialists and ROTs. Current charges for specialist and ROT transactions in equity options and index options are $0.30 and $0.31, respectively, per contract side. Given current transaction charges for equity and index options, specialists and ROTs to reach the fee cap would need to trade 240,000 contracts in equity options and 232,258 contracts in index options.

The fee cap was implemented by the Exchange to attract additional order flow expected to result from the financial incentives provided to Exchange specialist units and ROTs. To date, the Exchange has not experienced a significant increase in order flow. Accordingly, the Exchange proposes to eliminate the fee cap as described above.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,[6] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(4) of the Act,[7] in particular, regarding the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among exchange members and other persons using exchange facilities.

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

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition 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 neither solicited nor received comments on the proposed rule change.

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

The proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act [8] and subparagraph (f)(2) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[9] because it establishes or changes a due, fee, or other charge imposed by Amex. 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. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Amex-2004-61. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/​rules/​sro.shtml). 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 also will be Start Printed Page 51723available for inspection and copying at the principal offices of the Amex. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Amex-2004-61 and should be submitted on or before September 10, 2004.
Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[10]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 49019 (January 5, 2004), 69 FR 2023 (January 13, 2004) (SR-Amex-2003-104).

Back to Citation

8.  15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(a)(ii).

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[FR Doc. 04-19065 Filed 8-19-04; 8:45 am]

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