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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc. Relating to an Extension of the Specialist Performance Evaluation Program Pilot

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Start Preamble October 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 October 6, 2004, the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc. (“BSE” 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 Exchange. The Exchange filed the proposal 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.

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

The BSE proposes to extend its Specialist Performance Evaluation Program until December 31, 2004. Below is the text of the proposed rule change. Proposed new language is italicized; proposed deletions are in [brackets].

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Chapter XV—Specialists

Specialist Performance Evaluation Program

SEC. 17

(a)—(e) No change

(f) This program will expire on [September 30] December 31, 2004, unless further action is taken by the Exchange.

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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, the BSE 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 Exchange 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 seeks to extend its Specialist Performance Evaluation Program (“SPEP”) pilot, until December 31, 2004.

The Exchange states that, pursuant to the SPEP pilot program, it regularly evaluates the performance of its specialists by using objective measures, such as turnaround time, price improvement, depth, and added depth. Generally, any specialist who receives a deficient score in one or more measures may be required to attend a meeting with the Performance Improvement Action Committee, or the Market Performance Committee.

While the Exchange believes that the SPEP program has been a very successful and effective tool for measuring specialist performance, it also believes that modifications are necessary as a result of recent changes in the industry, particularly decimalization. The Exchange has filed a proposal with the Commission to amend its rules with respect to the SPEP program.[5] Accordingly, the Exchange is seeking to extend the pilot period of this program while its proposal to amend the SPEP program is pending with the Commission.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [6] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) [7] in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, brokers, or dealers, or to regulate by virtue of any authority matters not related to the administration of the Exchange.

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.

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 foregoing proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [8] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder [9] because the proposal: (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 prior to 30 days after the date of filing or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest; provided that the Exchange has given the Commission notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission. At any time within 60 days of the filing of such 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.

The BSE has requested that the Commission waive the five-day pre-filing notice and the 30-day operative delay.[10] The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because it will allow the pilot program to continue with minimal interruption and will permit the Commission to continue to evaluate the proposed changes to the pilot program.[11] In addition, the Commission has determined to waive the five-day pre-filing notice. For these reasons, the Commission designates the proposal to be effective and operative upon filing with the Commission.[12]

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. 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-BSE-2004-49. 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 Start Printed Page 61532amendments, 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 the BSE. 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-BSE-2004-49 and should be submitted on or before November 9, 2004.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[13]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 50287 (August 27, 2004), 69 FR 53966 (September 3, 2004) (SR-BSE-2004-25).

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10.  Exhibit 1 of SR-BSE-2004-49 contained certain discrepancies with Item 7 of SR-BSE-2004-49 with regard to the filing's date of effectiveness, which discrepancies have been conformed in this notice by Commission staff. Telephone conversation between John Boese, Vice President, Chief Regulatory Officer, BSE, and David Liu, Attorney, Division of Market Regulation, Commission, on October 8, 2004.

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11.  See note 5 supra.

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12.  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. E4-2714 Filed 10-18-04; 8:45 am]

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