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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Make Permanent the Quarterly Options Series Pilot Program on the Boston Options Exchange Facility

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Start Preamble July 9, 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 July 9, 2009, NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Exchange filed the 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 proposal 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 proposes to amend the Rules of the Boston Options Exchange Group, LLC (“BOX”) to make permanent its Quarterly Option Series pilot program (“QOS Program”). The text of the proposed rule change is available from the principal office of the Exchange, at the Commission's Public Reference Room and also on the Exchange's Internet Web site at http://nasdaqomxbx.cchwallstreet.com/​NASDAQOMXBX/​Filings/​.

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

In its filing with the Commission, Phlx 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. Phlx 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 Exchange is proposing to make the QOS Program permanent. On July 17, 2007, the Exchange filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) SR-BSE-2007-36, which was effective on filing and established the QOS Program.[5] The QOS Start Printed Page 34807Program allows BOX to list and trade Quarterly Option Series, which expire at the close of business on the last business day or a calendar quarter. Under the QOS Program, BOX may select up to five (5) currently listed exchange traded fund (“ETF”) or index option classes on which Quarterly Option Series may be opened. In addition, BOX may also list Quarterly Option Series on any options classes that are selected by other securities exchanges that employ a similar pilot program under their respective rules. The Exchange may list series that expire at the end of the next consecutive four (4) calendar quarters, as well as the fourth quarter of the next calendar year. For example, if the Exchange is trading Quarterly Options Series in the month of May 2009, it may list series that expire at the end of the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2009, as well as the first and fourth quarters of 2010. Following the second quarter 2009 expiration, the Exchange could add series that expire at the end of the second quarter of 2010.

Quarterly Option Series are P.M. settled.

Quarterly Option Series in ETF Options

If an ETF option is selected for participation in the QOS Program, the strike price of each Quarterly Option Series is fixed at a price per share, with at least two strike prices above and two strike prices below the approximate value of the underlying security at about the time the Quarterly Options Series is opened for trading on the Exchange. BOX shall list strikes prices for a Quarterly Option series that are within $5 from the closing price of the underlying on the preceding day.

The Exchange may open for trading additional Quarterly Options Series of the same class when the Exchange deems is necessary to maintain an orderly market, to meet customer demand or when the market price of the underlying security moves substantially from the initial exercise price or prices. To the extent that any additional strike prices are listed by the Exchange, such additional strike prices shall be within thirty percent (30%) above or below the closing price of the underlying ETF on the preceding day.[6] The Exchange may also open additional strike prices of Quarterly Option Series in ETF options that are more than 30% above or below the current price of the underlying ETF provided that demonstrated customer interest exists for such series, as expressed by institutional, corporate or individual customers or their brokers. Market Makers trading for their own account shall not be considered when determining customer interest under this provision. The opening of the new Quarterly Options Series shall not affect the series of options of the same class previously opened. In addition to the initial listed series, the Exchange may list up to sixty (60) additional series per expiration month for each Quarterly Options Series in ETF options.

The interval between strike prices on Quarterly Options Series shall be the same as the interval for strike prices for series in that same options class that expire in accordance with the normal monthly expiration cycle.

The Exchange has adopted a delisting policy with respect to QOS in ETF options.[7] On a monthly basis, the Exchange reviews series that are outside a range of five (5) strikes above and five (5) strikes below the current price of the underlying ETF, and delists series with no open interest in both the put and the call series having a: (i) Strike higher than the highest strike price with open interest in the put and/or call series for a given expiration month; and (ii) strike lower than the lowest strike price with open interest in the put and/or call series for a given expiration month.

Notwithstanding the delisting policy, customer requests to add strikes and/or maintain strikes in QOS in ETF options in series eligible for delisting shall be granted.

Further, in connection with the delisting policy, if the Exchange identifies series for delisting, the Exchange shall notify other options exchanges with similar delisting policies regarding eligible series for listing, and shall work with such other exchanges to develop a uniform list of series to be delisted, so as to ensure uniform series delisting of multiply listed QOS in ETF options.

During the last quarter of 2008 (and for the new expiration month added after December Quarterly Option Series expiration), the Exchange was permitted to list up to one hundred (100) additional series per expiration month for each Quarterly Options Series in ETF options.[8]

Quarterly Option Series in Index Options

If an index option is selected for participation in the QOS Program, the strike price of each Quarterly Option Series will be fixed at a price per share, with at least two, but no more than five, strike prices above and at least two, but no more than five, strike prices below the value of the underlying index at about the time that a Quarterly Options Series is opened for trading on the Exchange. The Exchange shall list strike prices for Quarterly Options Series that are reasonably related to the current index value of the underlying index to which such series relates at about the time such series of options is first opened for trading on the Exchange. The term “reasonably related to the current index value of the underlying index” means that the exercise price is within thirty percent (30%) of the current index value.

The Exchange may open for trading additional Quarterly Options Series of the same class when the Exchange deems it necessary to maintain an orderly market, to meet customer demand or when the market price of the underlying security moves substantially from the initial exercise price or prices. The Exchange may also open for trading additional Quarterly Options Series that are more than thirty percent (30%) of the current index value, provided that demonstrated customer interest exists for such series, as expressed by institutional, corporate, or individual customers or their brokers. Market Makers trading for their own account shall not be considered when determining customer interest under this provision.

The Exchange may open additional strike prices of a Quarterly Option Series that are above the value of the underlying index provided that the total number of strike prices above the value of the underlying index is no greater than five. The Exchange may open additional strike prices of a Quarterly Option Series that are below the value of the underlying index provided that the total number of strike prices below the value of the underlying index is no greater than five. The opening of any new Quarterly Option Series shall not affect the series of options of the same class previously opened.

The Exchange has selected the following five ETF option classes to participate in the QOS Program: DIAMONDS Trust (DIA) options, Standard and Poor's Depositary Start Printed Page 34808Receipts/SPDRs (SPY) options, iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM) options, PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQQ) options and Energy Select SPDR (XLE) options. The Exchange believes the QOS Program has been successful and well received by BOX Participants and the investing public for the nearly two years that it has been in operation as a pilot on BOX.

The Exchange is now proposing to make the QOS Program permanent. In support of approving the QOS Program on a permanent basis, BOX has submitted to the Commission Pilot Program Reports (“Reports”) detailing the Exchange's experience with the QOS Program. Specifically, the Reports contain data and written analysis regarding the five ETF option classes included in the QOS Program. The Reports have been submitted under separate cover with confidential treatment requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Exchange believes there is sufficient investor interest and demand in the QOS Program to warrant its permanent approval. The Exchange believes that, for the nearly three [sic] years that it has been in operation in the options markets, the QOS Program has provided investors with additional means of managing their risk exposures and carrying out their investment objectives. Furthermore, the Exchange has not experienced any capacity-related problems with respect to Quarterly Option Series. The Exchange also represents that BOX has the necessary system capacity to continue to support the option series listed under the QOS Program.

In seeking permanent approval, the Exchange is taking this opportunity to update the expiration examples provided in Supplementary Material .04 to Chapter IV, Section 6 and Supplementary Material .01 to Chapter XIV, Section 10. The revisions do not change the substance of the QOS Program.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposal is consistent with the requirements of Section 6(b) of the Act,[9] in general, and Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[10] in particular, in that it is designed to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism for a free and open market and a national market system and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. The Exchange believes that permanent approval of the QOS Program will result in an ongoing benefit to investors, and will continue to allow them additional means to manage their risk exposures and carry out their investment objectives.

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

The Exchange 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

The Exchange has neither solicited nor received comments on the proposed rule change.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

Because the foregoing 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 [11] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[12]

The Exchange has requested that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay so that the Exchange can permanently establish a Quarterly Options Series Program that is consistent with those of other options exchanges.[13] In addition, the Commission notes that the Exchange's QOS Program currently is scheduled to expire on July 10, 2009. The Commission therefore has determined that waiving the 30-day operative delay of the Exchange's proposal is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because such waiver will enable the Exchange to permanently establish the QOS program without disruption.[14] 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-BX-2009-037. 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 Start Printed Page 34809between 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-BX-2009-037 and should be submitted on or before August 7, 2009.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[15]

Elizabeth M. Murphy,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 56086 (July 17, 2007), 72 FR 40182 (July 23, 2007) (SR-BSE-2007-36). The QOS Program has since been extended and is currently scheduled to expire on July 10, 2009. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 58131 (July 9, 2008), 73 FR 41138 (July 17, 2008) (SR-BSE-2008-37) (Immediately effective rule change extending the QOS Program through July 10, 2009).

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6.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 57594 (April 1, 2008), 73 FR 18828 (April 7, 2008) (SR-BSE-2008-17) (Amended QOS Program to permit the listing of additional Quarterly Option Series in ETF options).

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8.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 58996 (November 21, 2008), 73 FR 72878 (December 1, 2008) (SR-BSE-2008-55) (temporary increase to the number of additional Quarterly Options Series in ETF options).

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12.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6) requires a self-regulatory organization to give the Commission written notice of its intent to file 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 satisfied this requirement.

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13.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 60164 (June 23, 2009), 74 FR 31333 (June 30, 2009) (SR-CBOE-2009-029) (approving the quarterly options series program on a permanent basis).

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14.  For purposes only of waiving the 30-day operative delay, 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. E9-17002 Filed 7-16-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P