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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Pacific Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Exchange's Standard Position and Exercise Limit Pilot Program

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Start Preamble February 22, 2006.

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 February 14, 2006, the Pacific Exchange, Inc. (“PCX” or “Exchange”) 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 the PCX. The Exchange has filed the proposal as a “non-controversial” rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [3] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[4] which renders it 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 PCX proposes to amend its rules to extend the time period in PCX Rule 6.8(a), which covers the position limit and exercise limits pilot program for equity option contracts and options on the Nasdaq-100 Tracking Stock (“QQQQ”) (“Pilot Program”). The text of the proposed rule change is available on the PCX's Web site (http://www.pacificex.com), at the PCX's principal office, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

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 PCX 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 purpose of this proposal is to extend the period for the Exchange's Pilot Program relating to standard position and exercise limits for equity option contracts and for options on QQQQs until September 1, 2006.[5] Specifically, the Pilot Program increased the applicable position and exercise limits for equity options and options on the QQQQ in accordance with the following levels:

Current equity option contract limit6Pilot program equity option contract limit
13,50025,000
22,50050,000
31,50075,000
60,000200,000
75,000250,000
Current QQQQ option contract limitPilot program QQQQ option contract limit
300,000900,000

The Exchange believes that extending the Pilot Program until September 1, 2006 is warranted due to the positive feedback from OTP Holders and for the reasons cited in the original rule filing that proposed the Pilot Program.[7] While previously the Pilot Program was extended for a “six-month period” this proposal actually calls for an extension of six months and four days. This slight change to the time period, which makes no material change to the Pilot Program itself, is being proposed in order to coordinate the expiration of the Pilot Program with the end of the calendar month. The Exchange has not encountered any problems or difficulties relating to the Pilot Program since its inception. For these reasons, the Exchange requests that the Commission extend the Pilot Program until September 1, 2006.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder and, in particular, the requirements of section 6(b) of the Act.[8] Specifically, the Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [9] that requires that the rules of an exchange be designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism for a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

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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 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 on the proposed rule change were neither solicited nor received.

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

Because the forgoing rule change does not: (1) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) become operative for 30 days after the date of this filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [10] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[11]

A proposed rule change filed under 19b-4(f)(6) normally may not become operative prior to 30 days after the date of filing.[12] However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) [13] permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The Exchange provided the Commission with written notice of its intent to file this proposed rule change at least five business days prior to the date of filing the proposed rule change. In addition, the Exchange has requested that the Commission waive the 30-day pre-operative delay. The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day pre-operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and in the public interest because it will allow the Pilot Program to continue uninterrupted.[14]

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 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:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Nancy M. Morris, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, Station Place, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File No. SR-PCX-2006-08. 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, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the PCX. 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 No. SR-PCX-2006-08 and should be submitted on or before March 22, 2006.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[15]

Nancy M. Morris,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  The Pilot Program, which was effective upon filing on February 25, 2005 and subsequently extended, is set to expire on February 26, 2006. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51286 (March 1, 2005), 70 FR 11297 (March 8, 2005) (notice of filing and immediate effectiveness of File No. SR-PCX-2003-55, as amended) (“Pilot Program Notice”). See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 52263 (August 15, 2005), 70 FR 49003 (August 22, 2005) (notice of filing and immediate effectiveness of File No. SR-PCX-2005-95).

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6.  Except when the Pilot Program is in effect.

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7.  See Pilot Program Notice, supra note 5.

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12.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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14.  For the purposes only of waiving the pre-operative delay, 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. E6-2845 Filed 2-28-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P