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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Eligible Margin Assets

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble August 12, 2008.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] notice is hereby given that on May 15, 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 eliminate foreign currencies and letters of credit denominated in a foreign currency as eligible margin assets.

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 primary purpose of this rule change is to eliminate, as eligible forms of margin assets, foreign currency and letters of credit denominated in a foreign currency.

Background

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Phlx”) has delisted all physical delivery foreign currency and cross-rate foreign currency options (collectively, “currency options”) and has advised OCC that it does not presently plan to list contracts requiring foreign currency delivery. To support premium and exercise settlement for such currency options, OCC has maintained in various countries bank accounts that also have been used from time to time to hold margin deposits in foreign currencies. With the delisting of physical delivery currency options, these accounts are no longer needed for operational reasons. Few clearing members have deposited foreign currencies as margin with OCC and only then in de minimis amounts, and no such deposits are currently held by OCC. In light of the limited and infrequent use of this margin asset class by clearing members, OCC has determined to close its foreign currency accounts for cost saving purposes. Closing these accounts means that OCC will no longer have the operational capability to accept foreign currency for margin purposes, and accordingly, OCC proposes to modify its rules to delete this asset class. Letters of credit denominated in a foreign currency have never been posted with OCC by clearing members, and their acceptance will be eliminated as well.

Rule Changes

To eliminate these forms of margin assets OCC would amend Rule 604. Specifically, references to deposits of foreign currencies would be deleted from paragraph (a), which relates to cash margin deposits. References to letters of credit denominated in a foreign currency would be deleted from paragraph (c). Other technical, conforming changes would be made to paragraph (c) to reflect such deletion. Because amended paragraph (c) would specify that letters of credit are to be denominated in U.S. dollars, specific references to U.S. dollar denominated letters of credit would be removed from Interpretations and Policies .03 and .08 under Rule 604. Interpretation and Policy .09 would be deleted in its entirety as it solely relates to deposits of letters of credit denominated in a foreign currency.

For rule transparency purposes, OCC also proposes to insert a notice at the beginning of the By-Law articles and Rule chapters that relate to physical delivery currency options (i.e., Articles XV and XXI and Chapters XVI and XXII) to inform readers that such provisions are inoperative until further notice by OCC.

OCC believes that the proposed change is consistent with the Act because it removes the eligibility of asset classes for margin purposes that either are not currently used or have never been used by clearing members in order to reduce OCC's operating costs. 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. Start Printed Page 48420

(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-2008-09. 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_​09.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-2008-09 and should be submitted on or before September 9, 2008.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[3]

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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[FR Doc. E8-19116 Filed 8-18-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P