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 July 25, 2008, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) (f/k/a National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”)) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been substantially prepared by FINRA. FINRA has designated the proposed rule change as constituting a “non-controversial” rule change under paragraph (f)(6) of Rule 19b-4 under the Act, which renders the proposal effective upon receipt of this filing by 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
FINRA proposes to make permanent the portfolio margin pilot program set forth in NASD Rule 2520(g) and Incorporated NYSE Rule 431(g). The Start Printed Page 45507portfolio margin pilot program permits members to margin certain products according to a prescribed portfolio margin methodology and is set to expire on July 31, 2008. There is no change to the rule text with this proposed rule change.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, FINRA 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. FINRA 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
On February 12, 2007, FINRA (then known as NASD) filed SR-NASD-2007-013 for immediate effectiveness to establish a portfolio margin pilot program that permits member firms to elect to margin certain products according to a prescribed portfolio margin methodology. The portfolio margin pilot program is substantially similar to margin rule amendments by the NYSE and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (“CBOE”), which were approved by the Commission. Consistent with the amended NYSE and CBOE portfolio margin programs, the pilot, as proposed in SR-NASD-2007-013, started on April 2, 2007 and ended on July 31, 2007. The pilot program was extended for a one-year period to July 31, 2008, also consistent with the NYSE and CBOE portfolio margin programs.
FINRA is proposing to make permanent the pilot program contained in NASD Rule 2520(g) and Incorporated NYSE Rule 431(g). FINRA has not encountered any problems or difficulties relating to the pilot program since its inception and believes that the program better aligns margin requirements with the actual risk of hedged products. For these reasons, FINRA proposes to adopt the portfolio margin program on a permanent basis.
FINRA has filed the proposed rule change for immediate effectiveness. The implementation date of the proposed rule change is August 1, 2008.
2. Statutory Basis
FINRA believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that FINRA rules must be 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. FINRA believes making the portfolio margin program permanent is appropriate as the program better aligns the margin requirements with actual risk.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
FINRA 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
Because the forgoing proposed rule change does not: (i) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative for 30 days after the date of the filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act  and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.
A proposed rule change filed under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) normally may not become operative prior to 30 days after the date of filing. However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. FINRA requests that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay, which would make the change operative upon filing. The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because such waiver will allow the customer portfolio margining program to continue uninterrupted as it would otherwise expire on July 31, 2008. Accordingly, the Commission designates the proposed rule change effective upon filing with the Commission.
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 Start Printed Page 45508Number SR-FINRA-2008-041 on the subject line.
- 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-FINRA-2008-041. 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 FINRA. 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-FINRA-2008-041 and should be submitted on or before August 26, 2008.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.
Florence E. Harmon,
4. The current FINRA rulebook consists of two sets of rules: (1) NASD Rules and (2) rules incorporated from NYSE (“Incorporated NYSE Rules”). While the NASD Rules generally apply to all FINRA members, the Incorporated NYSE Rules apply only to members of both FINRA and the NYSE, referred to as Dual Members.Back to Citation
5. See Exchange Act Release No. 55471 (March 14, 2007), 72 FR 13149 (March 20, 2007) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of SR-NASD-2007-013).Back to Citation
6. See Exchange Act Release No. 54918 (December 12, 2006), 71 FR 75790 (December 18, 2006) (SR-NYSE-2006-13, relating to further amendments to the NYSE's portfolio margin pilot program); Exchange Act Release No. 54125 (July 11, 2006), 71 FR 40766 (July 18, 2006) (SR-NYSE-2005-93, relating to amendments to the NYSE's portfolio margin pilot program); Exchange Act Release No. 52031 (July 14, 2005) 70 FR 42130 (July 21, 2005) (SR-NYSE-2002-19, relating to the NYSE's original portfolio margin pilot). See also Exchange Act Release No. 54919 (December 12, 2006), 71 FR 75781 (December 18, 2006) (SR-CBOE-2006-14, relating to amendments to the CBOE's portfolio margin pilot); Exchange Act Release No. 52032 (July 14, 2005) 70 FR 42118 (July 21, 2005) (SR-CBOE-2002-03, relating to the CBOE's original portfolio margin pilot).Back to Citation
7. See Exchange Act Release No. 56108 (July 19, 2007) 72 FR 41375 (July 27, 2007) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of SR-NASD-2007-045). See also Exchange Act Release No. 56107 (July 19, 2007) 72 FR 41377 (July 27, 2007) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of SR-NYSE-2007-56, relating to extension of the NYSE portfolio margin pilot program to July 31, 2008) and Exchange Act Release No. 56109 (July 19, 2007) 72 FR 41365 (July 27, 2007) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of SR-CBOE-2007-75, relating to extension of the CBOE portfolio margin pilot program to July 31, 2008).Back to Citation
10. 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) requires a self-regulatory organization to provide the Commission with 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. FINRA has fulfilled this requirement.Back to Citation
11. For purposes only of waiving the operative delay for this 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. E8-17890 Filed 8-4-08; 8:45 am]
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