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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Its Facilities Management Agreements

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Start Preamble February 11, 2008.

Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] notice is hereby given that on January 9, 2008, The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change described in Items I, II, and III below, which items have been prepared primarily by OCC. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments from interested persons.

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

The proposed rule change would amend OCC Rule 309 to permit expedited review of a facilities management agreement proposed to be entered into by an existing clearing member that desires to become a managed clearing member.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

In its filing with the Commission, OCC 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. OCC has prepared summaries, set forth in sections (A), (B), and (C) below, of the most significant aspects of these statements.[2]

(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 provide an expedited process for reviewing a facilities management agreement proposed to be entered into by an operationally capable clearing member that desires to become a managed clearing member. A managed clearing member is one that outsources certain of its obligations as a clearing member to another clearing member (“managing clearing member”).

Rule 309 prohibits a clearing member that proposes to enter into an outsourcing agreement with a managing clearing member from implementing the agreement without the prior approval of the Membership/Risk Committee (“Committee”).[3] In 2006 and 2007, the Committee reviewed three requests to approve such outsourcing arrangements. However, none of the three clearing member's desired time frame for implementing its facilities management arrangement coincided with a regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee, and each firm was required to defer executing its outsourcing plans until after a meeting occurred.

To provide for a more timely review of certain outsourcing agreements, OCC proposes to modify Rule 309. Under the proposal, a managed clearing member would be permitted to request an expedited review of its outsourcing agreement, and if OCC consented to an expedited review, the Chairman, the Management Vice Chairman, or the President would be authorized to determine whether the agreement meets applicable requirements and to approve or disapprove the agreement. At the next regularly scheduled Committee meeting, the Committee would independently review the outsourcing agreement and would determine de novo whether to approve or disapprove it. In the event the Committee's decision would result in a modification or a reversal of the action taken by the Chairman, the Management Vice Chairman, or President, no actions taken by OCC or the clearing member prior to the modification or reversal would be invalidated and no rights of any person arising out of such actions would be affected. In the unlikely event that the Committee disapproved an agreement previously approved by OCC, the clearing member would be given a reasonable time either to enter into an appropriately revised outsourcing agreement or to cease to be a Managed Clearing Member.

This proposed process is comparable to the process used when clearing members request expedited approval to clear a new type or kind of transaction.[4] OCC believes that the proposed expedited review process strikes a reasonable balance between meeting the business requirements of clearing Start Printed Page 9156members and continuing to ensure appropriate review of the operational and financial aspects of outsourcing arrangements.

The expedited review process would become Interpretation & Policy .01 under Rule 309. The existing Interpretation and Policy .01, which required managing clearing members as of October 1, 2003, to meet revised capital requirements by October 1, 2004, is no longer applicable and is therefore being deleted. In addition, a technical change is being made to paragraph (f) of Rule 309 to more closely parallel the language used in a cross-referenced By-law provision.

OCC believes that the proposed change is consistent with the Act because it promotes the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions by providing an expedited review process for facilities management agreements proposed to be entered into by OCC clearing members. The proposed rule change is not inconsistent with the existing rules of OCC, including any other rules proposed to be amended.

(B) Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

OCC does not believe that the proposed rule change would 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 were not and are not intended to be solicited with respect to the proposed rule change, and none have been received.

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:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

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

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-OCC-2008-01. 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, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of OCC and on OCC's Web site at: http://www.theocc.com/​publications/​rules/​proposed_​changes/​sr_​occ_​08_​01.pdf. 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-OCC-2008-01 and should be submitted on or before March 11, 2008.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[5]

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

2.  The Commission has modified the text of the summaries prepared by OCC.

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3.  See Rule 309(f). See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 55686 (May 1, 2007), 72 FR 26191 (May 8, 2007) [SR-OCC-2006-21].

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4.  Article V, Section 1, Interpretation & Policy .03e. See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 30169 (January 8, 1992) 57 FR 1776 [SR-OCC-91-06].

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[FR Doc. E8-2903 Filed 2-15-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P