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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto To Modify Rule 7019 Governing Market Data Distribution Fees

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Start Preamble July 13, 2010.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on June 29, 2010, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq” or the “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 prepared by the Exchange. On July 13, 2010, Nasdaq filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change as amended from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

Nasdaq proposes to modify Rule 7019 governing market data distribution fees to harmonize distributor and direct access fees for depth products.

The text of the proposed rule change is below. Proposed new language is in italics; proposed deletions are in brackets.[3]

* * * * *

7019. Market Data Distributor Fees

(a) No change.

(b) The charge to be paid by Distributors of the following Nasdaq Market Center real time data feeds shall be:

Monthly direct access feeMonthly internal distributor feeMonthly external distributor fee
Issue Specific Data
Dynamic Intraday
NASDAQ-listed security depth entitlements [TotalView]$2,000$1,000$2,500
Non NASDAQ-listed security depth entitlements [OpenView]1,0005001,250

(c)-(d) No 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, 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

Nasdaq is proposing to modify Rule 7019 governing market data distribution fees to harmonize the depth distributor fees by including Level 2, also known as NQDS, into the current fee (TotalView) for Nasdaq-listed securities. Currently, the data feed that contains the Nasdaq Level 2 entitlement and OpenView entitlement includes distributor fees for non-Nasdaq listed securities (under the OpenView entitlement) but does not include distributor fees for Nasdaq listed securities as TotalView does. Harmonization of the depth distributor fee entitlement for Nasdaq-listed securities on the Level 2 data product, consistent with other Nasdaq depth products such as TotalView, ensures product and policy consistency. As mentioned above, the Nasdaq Level 2 data feed contains two different entitlements (the OpenView entitlement and Level 2 entitlement). The data feed is the physical stream of data, whereas the entitlement is the subscription for which customers sign-up.

The Nasdaq Level 2 entitlement was created in 1983 at a time that all real-time products fell under the auspices of the UTP Plan. Subsequently, Nasdaq created a separate security information processor for UTP data in 2002 and petitioned the SEC to remove the Level 2 entitlement from the UTP Plan. When Nasdaq received exchange status in 2006, Level 2 data was removed from the UTP plan. Currently, the Level 2 data feed carries top-of-file exchange participant quotations for both Nasdaq and Consolidated Quotation System issues. This information is also carried in TotalView along with the full participant quotes. As such, Level 2 is a subset of TotalView data.

Like Nasdaq's other products, the Level 2 data feed is fed directly by the Nasdaq execution system and is offered in a full range of network protocols just as with TotalView. Meaning the Nasdaq Level 2 data feed uses the same system infrastructure as TotalView and as such, the entitlement for the distributor fees should be the same.

In addition to the new distributor fees, Nasdaq is looking to expand the direct access fee to customers who subscribe to the Level 2 entitlement. As with the disparity in the TotalView distributor fee, customers who only access the Level 2 information through the Level 2 entitlement directly from the Exchange are not charged a direct access fee (as “Direct Access” is defined in Nasdaq Rule 7019). Nasdaq is seeking to remedy this so that these customers are Start Printed Page 41917charged the same direct access fee as are customers of TotalView and OpenView. It is important to note that customers will only be charged one direct access fee for Nasdaq listed securities and one direct access fee for non-Nasdaq listed securities mimicking the TotalView and OpenView direct access entitlements.

The Exchange believes that the harmonization of the distributor fee and direct access fee makes Nasdaq's depth distributor fees and direct access fees consistent across products and allows Nasdaq to assess a fair price for the value delivered among all of Nasdaq's depth products. Firms would only pay one distributor fee and one direct access fee for a non-Nasdaq listed securities entitlement, regardless of the number of feeds consumed. Additionally, Firms would only pay one distributor fee and one direct access fee for a Nasdaq listed securities entitlement, regardless of the number of feeds consumed. This proposed rule change also has no affect on professional and non-professional user fees as this change is designed for the harmonization of distributor and direct access fees only.

If the Commission approves the filing in August 2010 but after August 1, 2010, the distributor fees as set forth herein will be in effect and cover the full month and will not be prorated.

2. Statutory Basis

Nasdaq believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 6 of the Act,[4] in general and with Section 6(b)(4) of the Act,[5] as stated above, in that it provides an equitable allocation of reasonable fees among users and recipients of Nasdaq data. In adopting Regulation NMS, the Commission granted self-regulatory organizations and broker-dealers increased authority and flexibility to offer new and unique market data to the public. It was believed that this authority would expand the amount of data available to consumers, and also spur innovation and competition for the provision of market data.

The proposed rule change in this instance appears to be precisely the sort of rule change that the Commission envisioned when it adopted Regulation NMS. The Commission concluded that Regulation NMS—by deregulating the market in proprietary data—would itself further the Act's goals of facilitating efficiency and competition:

[E]fficiency is promoted when broker-dealers who do not need the data beyond the prices, sizes, market center identifications of the NBBO and consolidated last sale information are not required to receive (and pay for) such data. The Commission also believes that efficiency is promoted when broker-dealers may choose to receive (and pay for) additional market data based on their own internal analysis of the need for such data.[6]

By removing “unnecessary regulatory restrictions” on the ability of exchanges to sell their own data, Regulation NMS advanced the goals of the Act and the principles reflected in its legislative history. If the free market should determine whether, proprietary data is sold to broker-dealers at all, it follows that the price at which such data is sold should be set by the market as well.

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

Nasdaq 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, as amended. As the Commission has recognized,[7] the market for transaction execution and routing services is highly competitive, and the market for proprietary data products is complementary to it, since the ultimate goal of such products is to attract further order flow to an exchange. Thus, exchanges lack the ability to set fees for executions or data at inappropriately high levels. Order flow is immediately transportable to other venues in response to differences in cost or value. Similarly, if data fees are set at inappropriate levels, customers that control order flow will not make use of the data and will be more inclined to send order flow to exchanges providing data at fees they consider more reasonable.

The market for market data products is currently competitive and inherently contestable because there is fierce competition for the inputs necessary to the creation of proprietary data and strict pricing discipline for the proprietary products themselves. Numerous exchanges compete with each other for listings, trades, and market data itself, providing virtually limitless opportunities for entrepreneurs who wish to produce and distribute their own market data. This proprietary data is produced by each individual exchange, as well as other entities, in a vigorously competitive market.

With regard to the market for executions, broker-dealers currently have numerous alternative venues for their order flow, including multiple competing self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) markets, as well as broker-dealers (“BDs”) and aggregators such as the Direct Edge and LavaFlow electronic communications network (“ECN”). Each SRO market competes to produce transaction reports via trade executions, and FINRA-regulated Trade Reporting Facilities (“TRFs”) compete to attract internalized transaction reports. It is common for BDs to further and exploit this competition by sending their order flow and transaction reports to multiple markets, rather than providing them all to a single market.

Competitive markets for order flow, executions, and transaction reports provide pricing discipline for the inputs of proprietary data products. The large number of SROs, TRFs, and ECNs that currently produce proprietary data or are currently capable of producing it provides further pricing discipline for proprietary data products. Each SRO, TRF, ECN and BD is currently permitted to produce proprietary data products, and many currently do or have announced plans to do so, including Nasdaq, NYSE, Alternext, NYSEArca, and BATS.

Any ECN or BD can combine with any other ECN, broker-dealer, or multiple ECNs or BDs to produce jointly proprietary data products. Additionally, non-broker-dealers such as order routers like LAVA, as well as market data vendors can facilitate single or multiple broker-dealers' production of proprietary data products. The potential sources of proprietary products are virtually limitless.

The fact that proprietary data from ECNs, BDs, and vendors can by-pass SROs is significant in two respects. First, non-SROs can compete directly with SROs for the production and sale of proprietary data products, as BATS and Arca did before registering as exchanges by publishing proprietary book data on the Internet. Second, because a single order or transaction report can appear in an SRO proprietary product, a non-SRO proprietary product, or both, the data available in proprietary products is exponentially greater than the actual number of orders and transaction reports that exist in the marketplace writ large.

Market data vendors provide another form of price discipline for proprietary data products because they control the primary means of access to end users. Vendors impose price restraints based upon their business models. For example, vendors such as Bloomberg and Reuters that assess a surcharge on data they sell may refuse to offer proprietary products that end users will Start Printed Page 41918not purchase in sufficient numbers. Internet portals, such as Google, impose a discipline by providing only that data which will enable them to attract “eyeballs” that contribute to their advertising revenue. Retail broker-dealers, such as Schwab and Fidelity, offer their customers proprietary data only if it promotes trading and generates sufficient commission revenue. Although the business models may differ, these vendors' pricing discipline is the same: They can simply refuse to purchase any proprietary data product that fails to provide sufficient value. Nasdaq and other producers of proprietary data products must understand and respond to these varying business models and pricing disciplines in order to successfully market proprietary data products.

In addition to the competition and price discipline described above, the market for proprietary data products is also highly contestable because market entry is rapid, inexpensive, and profitable. The history of electronic trading is replete with examples entrants that swiftly grew into some of the largest electronic trading platforms and proprietary data producers: Archipelago, Bloomberg Tradebook, Island, RediBook, Attain, TracECN, and BATS Trading. Several ECNs have existed profitably for many years with a minimal share of trading, including Bloomberg Tradebook and NexTrade.

Regulation NMS, by deregulating the market for proprietary data, has increased the contestability of that market. While broker-dealers have previously published their proprietary data individually, Regulation NMS encourages market data vendors and broker-dealers to produce proprietary products cooperatively in a manner never before possible. Multiple market data vendors already have the capability to aggregate data and disseminate it on a profitable scale, including Bloomberg, Reuters and Thomson. New entrants are already on the horizon, including “Project BOAT,” a consortium of financial institutions that is assembling a cooperative trade collection facility in Europe. These institutions are active in the United States and could rapidly and profitably export the Project Boat technology to exploit the opportunities offered by Regulation NMS.

In establishing the price for market data products, Nasdaq considered the competitiveness of the market for market data and all of the implications of that competition. Nasdaq believes that it has considered all relevant factors and has not considered irrelevant factors in order to establish a fair, reasonable, and not unreasonably discriminatory fee and an equitable allocation of fees among all users.

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.

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

Within 35 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 90 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 Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2010-078. 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 Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 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-NASDAQ-2010-078 and should be submitted on or before August 9, 2010.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.8

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  Changes are marked to the rule text that appears in the electronic Nasdaq Manual found at http://nasdaqomx.cchwallstreet.com.

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6.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51808 (June 9, 2005), 70 FR 37496 (June 29, 2005).

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7.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 59039 (December 2, 2008), 73 FR 74770 (December 9, 2008) (SR-NYSEArca-2006-21).

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[FR Doc. 2010-17493 Filed 7-16-10; 8:45 am]

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