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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Amex LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending NYSE Amex Rule 352 and Adopting New Rule 2150-NYSE Amex Equities To Correspond With Rule Changes Filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.

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Start Preamble December 11, 2009.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Start Printed Page 67940(“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on December 10, 2009, NYSE Amex LLC (“NYSE Amex” or the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by NYSE Amex. NYSE Amex 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 it 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 Rule 352—NYSE Amex Equities and adopt new Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities to correspond with rule changes filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and approved by the Commission.[5] The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Exchange, the Commission's Public Reference Room, and http://www.nyse.com.

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 self-regulatory organization 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 those 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 parts 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 changes is to amend Rule 352—NYSE Amex Equities (Guarantees, Sharing in Accounts, and Loan Arrangements) and adopt new Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities (Improper Use of Customers' Securities or Funds; Prohibition Against Guarantees and Sharing in Accounts) to correspond with rule changes filed by FINRA and approved by the Commission.

Background

On July 30, 2007, FINRA's predecessor, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”), and NYSE Regulation, Inc. (“NYSER”) consolidated their member firm regulation operations into a combined organization, FINRA. Pursuant to Rule 17d-2 under the Act,[6] the New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE”), NYSER and FINRA entered into an agreement (the “Agreement”) to reduce regulatory duplication for their members by allocating to FINRA certain regulatory responsibilities for certain NYSE rules and rule interpretations (“FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rules”). The Exchange became a party to the Agreement effective December 15, 2008.[7]

As part of its effort to reduce regulatory duplication and relieve firms that are members of FINRA, NYSE and NYSE Amex of conflicting or unnecessary regulatory burdens, FINRA is now engaged in the process of reviewing and amending the NASD and FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rules in order to create a consolidated FINRA rulebook.[8]

Proposed Conforming Amendments to NYSE Amex Equities Rules

FINRA adopted parts of NASD Rule 2330 (Customers' Securities of Funds) as consolidated FINRA Rule 2150 (Improper Use of Customers' Securities or Funds; Prohibition Against Guarantees and Sharing in Accounts). In adopting consolidated FINRA Rule 2150, FINRA also took into account certain provisions of FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rule 352 (Guarantees, Sharing in Accounts, and Loan Arrangements).[9]

Because they are substantially similar to the provisions of FINRA Rule 2150 or are otherwise incorporated into the Supplementary Material to the Rule, FINRA deleted the corresponding provisions of FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rule 352(a)-(d). In particular, FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rule 352(a), which prohibits members, member organizations and their employees from guaranteeing or representing that it will guarantee a customer against loss in any account or on any transaction, is substantially the same as FINRA Rule 2150(b).[10]

In addition, FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rule 352(b) and (c) prohibit members, member organizations and their employees from sharing in profits or losses in a customer's account or on any transaction except, subject to written authorization by the member or member organization (though not prior written customer authorization), in direct proportion to the financial contributions made to the account. FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rule 352(c) also permits sharing in customer losses resulting from an erroneous transaction. FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rule 352(d) permits sharing arrangements that comply with Rule 205 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended,[11] though again, there is no requirement for prior written customer authorization. These provisions are all substantially similar to those of consolidated FINRA Rule 2150(c) and the Supplementary Material.[12]

To harmonize the NYSE Amex Equities Rules with the approved FINRA Rules, the Exchange correspondingly proposes to delete the provisions of Rule 352(a)-(d)—NYSE Amex Equities and replace them with proposed Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities, which is substantially similar to the new FINRA Rule.[13] As proposed, Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities adopts the same language as FINRA Rule 2150, except for substituting for or adding to, as needed, the term “member organization” for the term “member”, and making corresponding technical changes. In addition, in Supplementary Start Printed Page 67941Material .04 to proposed Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities, the Exchange substituted NYSE Amex Equities Rules 346, 407 and 407A for NASD Rules 3030, 3040 and 3050 cross-referenced in the FINRA Rule, as these rules, which are analogous in purpose, have not yet been harmonized by FINRA.

Finally, in order to ensure that both proposed Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities and FINRA Rule 2150 are fully harmonized, the Exchange also proposes to add Supplementary Material .05 to Rule 2150—NYSE Amex Equities to provide that, for the purposes of the rule, the term “associated person of a member or member organization” shall have the same meaning as the terms “person associated with a member” or “associated person of a member” as defined in Article I (rr) of the FINRA By-Laws.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule changes are consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,[14] in general, and further the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[15] in particular, in that they are designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, 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 proposed rule changes also support the principles of Section 11A(a)(1) [16] of the Act in that they seek to ensure the economically efficient execution of securities transactions and fair competition among brokers and dealers and among exchange markets.

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule changes support the objectives of the Act by providing greater harmonization between NYSE Amex Equities Rules and FINRA Rules of similar purpose, resulting in less burdensome and more efficient regulatory compliance for joint members. To the extent the Exchange has proposed changes that differ from the FINRA version of the Rules, such changes are technical in nature and do not change the substance of the proposed NYSE Amex Equities Rules.

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 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

No written comments were solicited or received with respect to the proposed rule change.

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

The Exchange has filed the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(iii) of the Act [17] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[18] 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 from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, if consistent with the protection of investors and public interest, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [19] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[20]

A proposed rule change filed under 19b-4(f)(6) normally does not become operative prior to 30 days after the date of filing. However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) [21] permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The Exchange has requested that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay set forth in Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) under the Act [22] in order for the rule to become operative upon filing. The Commission notes that the operative date of FINRA 2150 becomes operative on December 14, 2009.[23] The Commission believes that the earlier operative date is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because the proposed rule change permits the Exchange to implement the rule without further delay and will prevent any potential regulatory gaps between the FINRA and NYSE Amex Rules.[24]

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-NYSEAmex-2009-88. 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 Start Printed Page 67942the principal office of NYSE Amex. 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-NYSEAmex-2009-88 and should be submitted on or before January 11, 2010.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.25

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 60701 (September 21, 2009), 74 FR 49425 (September 28, 2009) (order approving FINRA 09-14).

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7.  See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 56148 (July 26, 2007), 72 FR 42146 (August 1, 2007) (order approving the Agreement); 56147 (July 26, 2007), 72 FR 42166 (August 1, 2007) (SR-NASD-2007-054) (order approving the incorporation of certain NYSE Rules as “Common Rules”); and 60409 (July 30, 2009), 74 FR 39353 (August 6, 2009) (order approving the amended and restated Agreement, adding NYSE Amex as a party). Paragraph 2(b) of the Agreement sets forth procedures regarding proposed changes by FINRA, NYSE or NYSE Amex to the substance of any of the Common Rules.

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8.  FINRA's rulebook currently has three sets of rules: (1) NASD Rules, (2) FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rules, and (3) consolidated FINRA Rules. The FINRA Incorporated NYSE Rules apply only to those members of FINRA that are also members of the NYSE, while the consolidated FINRA Rules apply to all FINRA members. For more information about the FINRA rulebook consolidation process, see FINRA Information Notice, March 12, 2008.

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9.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 60701 (September 21, 2009), 74 FR 49425 (September 28, 2009).

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10.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 60701 (September 21, 2009), 74 FR 49425 (September 28, 2009).

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11.  15 U.S.C. 80b-1, et seq.

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12.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 60701 (September 21, 2009), 74 FR 49425 (September 28, 2009).

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13.  NYSE has submitted a companion rule filing amending its rules in accordance with FINRA's rule changes. See SR-NYSE-2009-123.

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17.  15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(iii).

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21.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) requires that a self-regulatory organization submit to the Commission 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 Commission notes that NYSE has satisfied the five-day pre-filing notice requirement.

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22.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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23.  See FINRA Regulatory Notice 09-60 (October 15, 2009).

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24.  For purposes only of waiving the 30-day operative delay of this proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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[FR Doc. E9-30241 Filed 12-18-09; 8:45 am]

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