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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Margin Requirements for Foreign Currency Options

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Start Preamble January 23, 2009.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [1] , and Rule 19b-4 [2] thereunder, notice is hereby given that on January 15, 2009, NASDAQ OMX PHLX, Inc. (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III, below, which Items have been substantially prepared by the Exchange. Phlx has filed the proposal as a “non-controversial” proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [3] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[4] which renders the proposed rule change effective upon filing with 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

The Exchange, pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Act [5] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[6] proposes to amend Phlx Rule 721, Proper and Adequate Margin, to add margin requirements for U.S. dollar-settled foreign currency options (“FCOs”).[7]

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://www.nasdaqtrader.com/​micro.aspx?​id=​PHLXRulefilings.

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

In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange 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. The Exchange 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

1. Purpose

The purpose of the proposed rule change is to add margin requirements for U.S. dollar-settled FCOs (“FCO margin requirements” or “FCO margin”) in Phlx Rule 721(c).

The FCO margin requirements proposed are substantially similar to prior Commentary .16 to Phlx Rule 722, which was removed in a recent filing to simplify Phlx's margin rules.[8] The FCO margin requirements are also substantially similar to current ISE Rule 1202(d).

Accordingly, under proposed Phlx Rule 721(c), the Exchange will calculate the margin requirement for customers that assume short FCO positions by adding a percentage of the current market value of the underlying foreign currency contract to the option premium price less an adjustment for the out-of-the-money amount of the option contract. On a quarterly calendar basis, the Exchange will review five-day price changes over the preceding three-year period for each underlying currency and set the add-on percentage at a level which would have covered those price changes at least 97.5% of the time (the “confidence level”).

If the results of subsequent reviews show that the current margin level provides a confidence level below 97%, the Exchange will increase the margin requirement for that individual currency up to a 98% confidence level. If the confidence level is between 97% and 97.5%, the margin level will remain the same but will be subject to monthly follow-up reviews until the confidence level exceeds 97.5% for two consecutive months. If, during the course of the monthly follow-up reviews, the confidence level drops below 97%, the margin level will be increased to a 98% level and if it exceeds 97.5% for two consecutive months, the currency will be taken off monthly reviews and will be put back on the quarterly review cycle. If the currency exceeds 98.5%, the margin level will be reduced to a 98% confidence level during the most recent 3 year period.

Finally, in order to account for large price movements outside the established margin level, if the quarterly review shows that the currency had a price movement, either positive or negative, greater than two times the margin level during the most recent 3 year period, the margin requirement will be set at a level to meet a 99% confidence level (“Extreme Outlier Test”).[9] These parameters are identical to prior Commentary .16 to Phlx Rule 722.

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2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [10] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [11] in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, 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 Exchange believes that the proposal is consistent with these obligations because clarification of the Exchange's FCO margin rules should benefit investors and traders and be in the public interest.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition 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

No written comments were either solicited or received.

II. 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 [12] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[13]

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.[14] Phlx requests that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay. The proposed rule change is substantially similar to an ISE rule relating to margin for foreign currency options.[15] The Commission believes that this proposed rule change does not raise any new, unique or substantive issues from those raised in the approved ISE 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 Phlx to apply FCO margin rules that are similar to those of other options exchanges.[16] Therefore, the Commission designates the proposal operative upon filing.

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:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

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

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2009-01. 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 the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. 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-Phlx-2009-01 and should be submitted on or before February 20, 2009.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.17

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

7.  FCOs are currently traded on the Exchange under the name World Currency Options.

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8.  See Exchange Act Release No. 58340 (August 11, 2008), 73 FR 48268 (August 18, 2008) (SR-Phlx-2007-33). Pursuant to this filing, Rule 721 was amended to add subsection (b) requiring Exchange members to make an election to be bound by either CBOE or NYSE margin rules, and Phlx Rule 722 was shortened.

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9.  The Exchange will inform its members and the public of the margin levels for each currency option immediately following the quarterly reviews described in Rule 721(c).

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13.  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. The Exchange has fulfilled this requirement.

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15.  Exchange Act. Release No. 55575 (April 3, 2007), 72 FR 17963 (April 10, 2007) (SR-ISE-2006-59).

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16.  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).

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[FR Doc. E9-1978 Filed 1-29-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P