Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”)  1, notice is hereby given that on March 3, 2004, the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (“FICC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) and on March 11, 2004, amended the proposed rule change described in items I, II, and III below, which items have been prepared primarily by FICC. 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
FICC is seeking to amend the rules of its Mortgage-Backed Securities Division (“MBSD”) to eliminate the basic deposit component of its Participants Fund deposit requirement for participants that are registered with the Commission as registered investment companies (“RICs”) pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, FICC 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. FICC has prepared summaries, set forth in sections (A), (B), Start Printed Page 67973and (C) below, of the most significant aspects of these statements.
(A) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
The purpose of the proposed rule change is to amend the rules of FICC's MBSD to eliminate the basic deposit component of the Participants Fund deposit requirement for participants that are RICs.
In 2003, FICC received a no-action letter  from the Commission's Division of Investment Management (“IM”) stating that IM would not recommend to the Commission enforcement action under Section 17(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 against any RIC or its custodian if the RIC or its custodian placed the RIC's cash and/or securities in the custody of the MBSD for purposes of meeting the Participants Fund requirements imposed by the MBSD. IM's no-action letter was based upon the fact that the main portions of the MBSD's Participants Fund, the “minimum market margin differential deposit” and the “market margin differential deposit,” are intended to benefit the non-defaulting participants of the MBSD because these portions are intended to provide assurances that each participant's contributions to the Participants Fund will be adequate to satisfy all open commitments recorded with the MBSD. In contrast, the remaining portion of the Participants Fund, the “basic deposit,” is designed to protect the FICC by ensuring that each participant's fees owing to the MBSD will be paid if the participant is unable to meet such fee obligations.
In granting no-action relief to FICC, IM staff relied upon FICC's representation that RICs would be exempt from the basic deposit requirement. FICC determined that this representation would not subject it to undue risk because the basic deposit is a relatively minimal amount and this exemption affects very few participants. The management of FICC returned the basic deposits posted by its RIC clearing members under perceived authority given to it under Article IV, Rule 1, Section 3 of its Rules. FICC nonetheless believes it would be prudent to expressly state in its MBSD Rules that RICs are exempt from the basic deposit requirement.
FICC believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of Section 17A of the Act  and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to FICC because by exempting RICs from its basic deposit requirement, FICC is enabling RICs to become participants and is doing so in a manner that allows FICC to safeguard the securities and funds in its custody or control or for which it is responsible.
(B) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
FICC 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. FICC will notify the Commission of any written comments received by FICC.
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. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
- Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml) or
- Send an e-mail to email@example.com. Please include File Number SR-FICC-2004-05 on the subject line.
- 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-FICC-2004-05. 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 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 FICC and on FICC's Web site at http://www.ficc.com. 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-FICC-2004-05 and should be submitted on or before December 13, 2004.
For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.Start Signature
Margaret H. McFarland,
3. The Commission has modified the text of the summaries prepared by FICC.Back to Citation
4. FICC will also state in the MBSD's Schedule of Charges that the basic deposit does not apply to RICs.Back to Citation
5. 5 No-Action Letter under the Investment Company Act of 1940—Section 17(f) and Rule 17f-4, to Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (March 13, 2003).Back to Citation
6. Currently, the basic deposit is determined semiannually and is the greater of (a) $1,000 or (b) the participant's average monthly bill (per account) with a maximum of $10,000. The MBSC currently has only two RIC clearing members.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E4-3270 Filed 11-19-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P