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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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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble June 13, 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 managed clearing member's request to operate without a facilities management agreement.

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 managed clearing member's request to operate without a facilities management agreement (“FMA”).[3]

Under OCC Rule 309(e), a managed clearing member that desires to terminate an FMA must withdraw from membership on the business day before the proposed termination unless the Membership/Risk Committee (“Committee”) has determined in accordance with Article V, section 1 of OCC's By-laws either that the managed Start Printed Page 34970clearing member has the operational capability, experience and competence to perform the managed services required of a clearing member or the managed clearing member has entered into another acceptable FMA that will be effective on or before such proposed termination.

From March, 2006 to February, 2008, the Committee reviewed three requests to terminate FMAs, all of which were approved. In each case, the managed clearing member was required to defer terminating its FMA until the next regularly scheduled Committee meeting. To provide for a more timely review of certain FMA terminations, OCC proposes to adopt a new Interpretation and Policy .02 under Rule 309. Under the new policy, a managed clearing member desiring to terminate its FMA would be permitted to request an expedited review. If OCC consents to an expedited review,[4] the Chairman, the Management Vice Chairman, or the President would be authorized to determine whether, as specified in Rule 309(e), a managed clearing member had the operational capability, experience, and competency to perform the managed services required of a clearing member, and to approve or disapprove the termination.

At the next regularly scheduled Committee meeting, the Committee would independently review de novo whether the managed clearing member met the requirements of Rule 309(e) and determine whether or not to approve the FMA's termination. Notwithstanding that, if the Committee modifies or reverses the action taken by the Chairman, the Management Vice Chairman, or the President, any actions taken by OCC or the clearing member prior to the modification or reversal would not be invalidated and no rights of any person arising out of such actions would be affected. In the unlikely event that the Committee disapproved of a termination previously approved by OCC, the clearing member would be given a reasonable time either to establish another FMA or to withdraw from membership.

This proposal is comparable to a process recently approved by the Commission which permits the expedited review of requests by operationally capable clearing members that desire to outsource certain of their clearing member obligations by entering into FMAs.[5] OCC believes that the rationale for giving senior management the authority to approve FMAs on an interim basis applies equally to FMA terminations. The proposal strikes a reasonable balance between meeting the business requirements of clearing members and continuing to ensure appropriate review of their operational capabilities.

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 the termination of FMAs as proposed by managed 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 Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-OCC-2008-08. 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, 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_​08.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-2008-08 and should be submitted on or before July 10, 2008.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[6]

Florence E. Harmon,

Acting Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

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

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3.  Article V, Section 1 of OCC's By-laws, including the Interpretations and Policies thereunder, set forth the requirements for membership. Interpretation and Policy .04 permits an applicant for clearing membership (“managed clearing member”) to meet specified membership requirements by entering into an FMA with another clearing member (“managing clearing member”) pursuant to which managing clearing member would perform certain of the applicant's obligations as a clearing member (“managed services”). An operationally capable clearing member also may elect to outsource certain of its obligations as a clearing member, and thereby, become a managed clearing member. OCC Rule 309(f).

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4.  OCC would use the expedited review process for FMA terminations only in cases that present no significant or novel issues. Requests involving complex issues would be presented to the Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

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5.  Interpretation & Policy .01 to Rule 309. See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 57535 (March 20, 2008), 73 FR 16086 (March 26, 2008) [SR-OCC-2008-01].

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[FR Doc. E8-13855 Filed 6-18-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P