Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”)  and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on December 23, 2005, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”) filed Start Printed Page 378with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by NASD. NASD filed this proposal pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act  and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder, therefore making the proposed rule change effective immediately upon filing. NASD intends for this rule change to become operative on January 1, 2006. 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
NASD is proposing to extend through June 30, 2006, the current pilot price-improvement standards for decimalized securities contained in NASD Interpretive Material 2110-2—Trading Ahead of Customer Limit Order (“Manning Rule” or “Manning”). There are no proposed changes to the rule text.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, NASD 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. NASD 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
NASD's Manning Rule requires NASD member firms to provide a minimum level of price improvement to incoming orders in NMS and SmallCap securities if the firm chooses to trade as principal with those incoming orders at prices superior to customer limit orders they currently hold. If a firm fails to provide the minimum level of price improvement to the incoming order, the firm must execute its held customer limit orders. Generally, if a firm fails to provide the requisite amount of price improvement and also fails to execute its held customer limit orders, it is in violation of the Manning Rule.
On April 6, 2001, the Commission approved, on a pilot basis, price-improvement standards for decimalized securities contained in Manning, which added the following language to IM-2110-2:
For Nasdaq securities authorized for trading in decimals pursuant to the Decimals Implementation Plan For the Equities and Options Markets, the minimum amount of price improvement necessary in order for a market maker to execute an incoming order on a proprietary basis in a security trading in decimals when holding an unexecuted limit order in that same security, and not be required to execute the held limit order, is as follows:
(1) For customer limit orders priced at or inside the best inside market displayed in Nasdaq, the minimum amount of price improvement required is $0.01; and
(2) For customer limit orders priced outside the best inside market displayed in Nasdaq, the market maker must price improve the incoming order by executing the incoming order at a price at least equal to the next superior minimum quotation increment in Nasdaq (currently $0.01).
Since approval, these standards continue to operate on a pilot basis which terminates on December 31, 2005. After consultation with Commission staff, NASD has determined to seek an extension of its current Manning pilot until June 30, 2006. NASD believes that such an extension provides for an appropriate continuation of the current Manning price-improvement standard while the Commission continues to analyze the issues related to customer limit order protection in a decimalized environment. NASD is not proposing any other changes to the pilot at this time. NASD proposes to make the proposed rule change operative on January 1, 2006.
2. Statutory Basis
NASD believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 15A of the Act, in general, and with Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, in particular, in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. NASD believes that the proposed rule change will improve treatment of customer limit orders and enhance the integrity of the market.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
NASD does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is 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
Written comments were neither solicited nor received.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
This proposal has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act  and subparagraph (f)(6) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder  because the proposal: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest, (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition, and (3) by its terms does not become operative for 30 days after the date of this filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. NASD has requested that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay and designate the proposed rule change effective immediately. NASD intends for the rule to become operative on January 1, 2006.
The Commission hereby grants the request. The Commission believes that such waiver is consistent with the Start Printed Page 379protection of investors and the public interest because it will allow the protection of customer limit orders provided by the pilot to continue without interruption.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include File Number SR-NASD-2005-152 on the subject line.
- Send paper comments in triplicate to Nancy M. Morris, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-9303.
All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASD-2005-152. 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 such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of NASD. 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 the File Number SR-NASD-2005-152 and should be submitted on or before January 25, 2006.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Nancy M. Morris,
5. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 44165 (April 6, 2001), 66 FR 19268 (April 13, 2001).Back to Citation
6. Pursuant to the terms of the Decimals Implementation Plan for the Equities and Options Markets, the minimum quotation increment for Nasdaq securities (both National Market and SmallCap) at the outset of decimal pricing is $0.01. As such, Nasdaq displays priced quotations to two places beyond the decimal point (to the penny). Quotations submitted to Nasdaq that do not meet this standard are rounded to the nearest minimum quotation increment (namely, $0.01), specifically, rounded down for buy orders and rounded up for sell orders. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43876 (January 23, 2001), 66 FR 8251 (January 30, 2001).Back to Citation
7. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51953 (June 30, 2005), 70 FR 39839 (July 11, 2005).Back to Citation
12. Pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) of the Act, a proposed rule change does not become operative for 30 days after the date of its filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, provided that the self-regulatory organization has given the Commission written 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. NASD complied with the five day pre-filing requirement.Back to Citation
13. For purposes only of accelerating the operative date of the proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E5-8229 Filed 1-3-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P