On April 26, 2007, the American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”)  and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, a proposed rule change to amend the required number of letters of reference an applicant must provide. On May 3, 2007, Amex submitted Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on May 18, 2007. The Commission received no comments on the proposal. This order approves the proposed rule change, as amended.
II. Description of the Proposal
Amex Rule 353 currently requires a member applicant to provide five letters of reference from any person seeking status as a regular, options principal member or LTP holder. The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 353 to require member applicants to provide two, as opposed to five, letters of reference from responsible persons. According to the Exchange, requiring five letters of reference has proven burdensome and time-consuming for member applicants and often delays the application process. Furthermore, Amex states that the content of such references is of little consequence in an applicant's ultimate approval. Finally, with the availability of more objective background information provided through other resources, such as WEBCRD, FBI fingerprints, and credit reports, Amex believes that the need for these letters of reference has largely been diminished.
III. Discussion and Commission Findings
The Commission has carefully reviewed the proposed rule change and finds that it is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange. In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, which, among other things, requires that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.
The Commission believes that amending Amex's rules to require two, instead of five, letters of reference is reasonable and consistent with the Act. This amendment should help expedite the application process without significantly diminishing Amex's standards of review with respect to the applicants. Applicants will still need to provide two references, and as Amex noted, there is now more objective background information available through other sources.
It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (SR-Amex-2007-42), be, and hereby is, approved.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Florence E. Harmon,
4. Article IV, Section 1(d) of the Amex Constitution provides that applications for associate membership shall be in a form and manner prescribed by the Exchange. Pursuant to this section, the Exchange currently requires associate member applicants to provide five letters of reference.Back to Citation
5. The Exchange represented that it intends to reduce the requirement for associate membership applicants from five to two letters of reference to correspond with the proposed change affecting regular, options principal members and LTP holders.Back to Citation
6. In approving this proposed rule change, 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. E7-12340 Filed 6-26-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P