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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Establish Fees for a Direct Market Data Product, NASDAQ Options Trade Outline (“NOTO”)

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Start Preamble November 28, 2011.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that, on November 16, 2011, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. 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 NASDAQ Rule 7054, Charges for Membership, Services, and Equipment, by establishing fees for a direct data product known as the NASDAQ Options Trade Outline (“NOTO”) market data product. The proposed fees will become effective on December 1, 2011.

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://www.nasdaq.cchwallstreet.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

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 establish fees for the NOTO market data product.[3] NOTO is a market data product offered by the Exchange that is designed to provide proprietary electronic trade data to subscribers. NOTO is available as either an “End-of-Day” data product or an “Intra-Day” data product, as described more fully below. NOTO is available to any person who wishes to subscribe to it, regardless of whether or not they are a member of the Exchange. The fees for both the End of Day product and the Intra-Day product are uniform for all subscribers. NOTO is available only for internal use and distribution by subscribers.

Data Included in NOTO

NOTO provides information about the activity of a particular option series Start Printed Page 75594during a particular trading session. NOTO subscribers will receive the following data:

  • Aggregate number of buy and sell transactions in the affected series;
  • Aggregate volume traded electronically on the Exchange in the affected series;
  • Aggregate number of trades effected on the Exchange to open a position; [4]
  • Aggregate number of trades effected on the Exchange to close a position; [5]
  • Origin of the orders involved in trades on the Exchange in the affected series during a particular trading session, specifically aggregated in the following categories of participants: customers, broker-dealers, and market makers.

End of Day Product

The End-of-Day product includes the aggregate data described above representing the entire trading session. It is calculated during an overnight process after each trading session and is available to subscribers for download the following morning at approximately 7 a.m., ET.

The monthly subscriber fee for the End of Day product subscribers is $500.00.

Intra-Day Product

The Intra-Day product includes periodic, cumulative data for a particular trading session. The Intra-Day product is produced and updated every ten minutes during the trading day. Data is captured in “snapshots” taken every 10 minutes throughout the trading day and is available to subscribers within 5 minutes of the conclusion of each 10 minute period. For example, subscribers to the Intra-Day product will receive the first calculation of intra-day data by 9:44 a.m. ET, which represents data captured from 9:30 a.m. to 9:39 a.m. Subscribers will receive the next update at 9:54 a.m., representing the data previously provided together with data captured from 9:40 a.m. through 9:49 a.m., and so forth. Each update will represent the aggregate data captured from the current “snapshot” and all previous “snapshots.” The monthly subscriber fee for the Intra-Day product is $750.00.

NOTO provides subscribers data that should enhance their ability to analyze option trade and volume data, and to create and test trading models and analytical strategies. The Exchange believes that NOTO is a valuable tool that subscribers can use to gain comprehensive insight into the trading activity in a particular option series.

2. Statutory Basis

NASDAQ believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 6 of the Act,[6] in general, and with Section 6(b)(4) of the Act,[7] in particular, 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 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.” [8]

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. NASDAQ believes that NOTO is precisely the sort of market data product that the Commission envisioned when it adopted Regulation NMS.

The Court in NetCoalition, while upholding the Commission's conclusion that competitive forces may be relied upon to establish the fairness of prices, nevertheless concluded that the record in that case did not adequately support the Commission's conclusions as to the competitive nature of the market for NYSEArca's data product at issue in that case. As explained below in NASDAQ's Statement on Burden on Competition, however, NASDAQ believes that there is substantial evidence of competition in the marketplace for data that was not in the record in the NetCoalition case, and that the Commission is entitled to rely upon such evidence in concluding that the fees established in this filing are the product of competition, and therefore in accordance with the relevant statutory standards.[9]

On July 21, 2010, President Barak [sic] Obama signed into law H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”), which amended Section 19 of the Act. Among other things, Section 916 of the Dodd-Frank Act amended paragraph (A) of Section 19(b)(3) of the Act by inserting the phrase “on any person, whether or not the person is a member of the self-regulatory organization” after “due, fee or other charge imposed by the self-regulatory organization.” As a result, all SRO rule proposals establishing or changing dues, fees, or other charges are immediately effective upon filing regardless of whether such dues, fees, or other charges are imposed on members of the SRO, non-members, or both. Section 916 further amended paragraph (C) of Section 19(b)(3) of the Exchange Act to read, in pertinent part, “At any time within the 60-day period beginning on the date of filing of such a proposed rule change in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (1) [of Section Start Printed Page 7559519(b)], the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend the change in the rules of the self-regulatory organization made thereby, 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 this title. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings under paragraph (2)(B) [of Section 19(b)] to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.”

NASDAQ believes that these amendments to Section 19 of the Act reflect Congress's intent to allow the Commission to rely upon the forces of competition to ensure that fees for market data are reasonable and equitably allocated. Although Section 19(b) had formerly authorized immediate effectiveness for a “due, fee or other charge imposed by the self-regulatory organization,” the Commission adopted a policy and subsequently a rule stipulating that fees for data and other products available to persons that are not members of the self-regulatory organization must be approved by the Commission after first being published for comment. At the time, the Commission supported the adoption of the policy and the rule by pointing out that unlike members, whose representation in self-regulatory organization governance was mandated by the Act, non-members should be given the opportunity to comment on fees before being required to pay them, and that the Commission should specifically approve all such fees.

NASDAQ believes that the amendment to Section 19 reflects Congress's conclusion that the evolution of self-regulatory organization governance and competitive market structure have rendered the Commission's prior policy on non-member fees obsolete.

Specifically, many exchanges have evolved from member-owned not-for-profit corporations into for-profit investor-owned corporations (or subsidiaries of investor owned corporations). Accordingly, exchanges no longer have narrow incentives to manage their affairs for the exclusive benefit of their members, but rather have incentives to maximize the appeal of their products to all customers, whether members or nonmembers, so as to broaden distribution and grow revenues. Moreover, we believe that the change also reflects an endorsement of the Commission's determinations that reliance on competitive markets is an appropriate means to ensure equitable and reasonable prices. Simply put, the change reflects a presumption that all fee changes should be permitted to take effect immediately, since the level of all fees are constrained by competitive forces.

The recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in NetCoaliton [sic] v. SEC, No. 09-1042 (DC Cir. 2010), although reviewing a Commission decision made prior to the effective date of the Dodd-Frank Act, upheld the Commission's reliance upon competitive markets to set reasonable and equitably allocated fees for market data. “In fact, the legislative history indicates that the Congress intended that the market system `evolve through the interplay of competitive forces as unnecessary regulatory restrictions are removed' and that the SEC wield its regulatory power `in those situations where competition may not be sufficient,' such as in the creation of a `consolidated transactional reporting system.' ” [10]

The court's conclusions about Congressional intent are therefore reinforced by the Dodd-Frank Act amendments, which create a presumption that exchange fees, including market data fees, may take effect immediately, without prior Commission approval, and that the Commission should take action to suspend a fee change and institute a proceeding to determine whether the fee change should be approved or disapproved only where the Commission has concerns that the change may not be consistent with the Act.

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. Notwithstanding its determination that the Commission may rely upon competition to establish fair and equitably allocated fees for market data, the NetCoaltion [sic] court found that the Commission had not, in that case, compiled a record that adequately supported its conclusion that the market for the data at issue in the case was competitive.

For the reasons discussed above, NASDAQ believes that the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to Section 19 materially alter the scope of the Commission's review of future market data filings, by creating a presumption that all fees may take effect immediately, without prior analysis by the Commission of the competitive environment.

Even in the absence of this important statutory change, however, NASDAQ believes that a record may readily be established to demonstrate the competitive nature of the market in question.

There is intense competition between trading platforms that provide transaction execution and routing services and proprietary data products. Transaction execution and proprietary data products are complementary in that market data is both an input and a by-product of the execution service. In fact, market data and trade execution are a paradigmatic example of joint products with joint costs. The decision whether and on which platform to post an order will depend on the attributes of the platform where the order can be posted, including the execution fees, data quality and price and distribution of its data products. Without the prospect of a taking order recognizing and reacting to a posted order on a particular platform, the posting of the order would accomplish little.

Without trade executions, exchange data products cannot exist. Data products are valuable to many end users only insofar as they provide information that end users expect will assist them or their customers in making trading decisions.

The costs of producing market data include not only the costs of the data distribution infrastructure, but also the costs of designing, maintaining, and operating the exchange's transaction execution platform and the cost of regulating the exchange to ensure its fair operation and maintain investor confidence. The total return that a trading platform earns reflects the revenues it receives from both products and the joint costs it incurs. Moreover, an exchange's customers view the costs of transaction executions and of data as a unified cost of doing business with the exchange. A broker-dealer will direct orders to a particular exchange only if the expected revenues from executing trades on the exchange exceed net transaction execution costs and the cost of data that the broker-dealer chooses to buy to support its trading decisions (or those of its customers). The choice of data products is, in turn, a product of the value of the products in making profitable trading decisions. If the cost of the product exceeds its expected value, the broker-dealer will choose not to buy it. Moreover, as a broker-dealer chooses to direct fewer orders to a Start Printed Page 75596particular exchange, the value of the product to that broker-dealer decreases, for two reasons. First, the product will contain less information, because executions of the broker-dealer's orders will not be reflected in it. Second, and perhaps more important, the product will be less valuable to that broker-dealer because it does not provide information about the venue to which it is directing its orders. Data from the competing venue to which the broker-dealer is directing orders will become correspondingly more valuable.

Thus, a super-competitive increase in the fees charged for either transactions or data has the potential to impair revenues from both products. “No one disputes that competition for order flow is `fierce'.” [11] However, the existence of fierce competition for order flow implies a high degree of price sensitivity on the part of broker-dealers with order flow, since they may readily reduce costs by directing orders toward the lowest-cost trading venues. A broker-dealer that shifted its order flow from one platform to another in response to order execution price differentials would both reduce the value of that platform's market data and reduce its own need to consume data from the disfavored platform. Similarly, if a platform increases its market data fees, the change will affect the overall cost of doing business with the platform, and affected broker-dealers will assess whether they can lower their trading costs by directing orders elsewhere and thereby lessening the need for the more expensive data.

Analyzing the cost of market data distribution in isolation from the cost of all of the inputs supporting the creation of market data will inevitably underestimate the cost of the data. Thus, because it is impossible to create data without a fast, technologically robust, and well-regulated execution system, system costs and regulatory costs affect the price of market data. It would be equally misleading, however, to attribute all of the exchange's costs to the market data portion of an exchange's joint product. Rather, all of the exchange's costs are incurred for the unified purposes of attracting order flow, executing and/or routing orders, and generating and selling data about market activity. The total return that an exchange earns reflects the revenues it receives from the joint products and the total costs of the joint products.

Competition among trading platforms can be expected to constrain the aggregate return each platform earns from the sale of its joint products, but different platforms may choose from a range of possible, and equally reasonable, pricing strategies as the means of recovering total costs. For example, some platforms may choose to pay rebates to attract orders, charge relatively low prices for market information (or provide information free of charge) and charge relatively high prices for accessing posted liquidity. Other platforms may choose a strategy of paying lower rebates (or no rebates) to attract orders, setting relatively high prices for market information, and setting relatively low prices for accessing posted liquidity. In this environment, there is no economic basis for regulating maximum prices for one of the joint products in an industry in which suppliers face competitive constraints with regard to the joint offering. This would be akin to strictly regulating the price that an automobile manufacturer can charge for car sound systems despite the existence of a highly competitive market for cars and the availability of aftermarket alternatives to the manufacturer-supplied system.

The market for market data products is 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. Broker-dealers currently have numerous alternative venues for their order flow, including ten self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) markets, as well as internalizing broker-dealers (“BDs”) and various forms of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”), including dark pools and electronic communication networks (“ECNs”). Each SRO market competes to produce transaction reports via trade executions, and two FINRA regulated Trade Reporting Facilities (“TRFs”) compete to attract internalized transaction reports. Competitive markets for order flow, executions, and transaction reports provide pricing discipline for the inputs of proprietary data products. For example, the Exchange notes that at least two other U.S. options exchanges offer a market data product that is substantially similar to NOTO, which NASDAQ must consider in its pricing discipline in order to compete for listings, trades, and the market data itself.[12]

The large number of SROs, TRFs, BDs, and ATSs that currently produce proprietary data or are currently capable of producing it provides further pricing discipline for proprietary data products. Each SRO, TRF, ATS, and BD is currently permitted to produce proprietary data products, and many currently do or have announced plans to do so, including, NASDAQ, PHLX, NYSE, NYSE Amex, NYSEArca, and BATS.

Any ATS or BD can combine with any other ATS, BD, or multiple ATSs or BDs to produce joint proprietary data products. Additionally, order routers and 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 ATSs, 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.

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 not purchase in sufficient numbers. Internet portals, such as Yahoo, impose a discipline by providing only data that will enable them to attract “eyeballs” that contribute to their advertising revenue. Retail broker-dealers, such as Start Printed Page 75597Schwab 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 market proprietary data products successfully.

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 of entrants that swiftly grew into some of the largest electronic trading platforms and proprietary data producers: Archipelago, Bloomberg Tradebook, Island, RediBook, Attain, TracECN, BATS Trading and Direct Edge. A proliferation of dark pools and other ATSs operate profitably with fragmentary shares of consolidated market volume.

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, and Thomson-Reuters.

The court in NetCoalition concluded that the Commission had failed to demonstrate that the market for market data was competitive based on the reasoning of the Commission's NetCoalition order because, in the court's view, the Commission had not adequately demonstrated that the depth-of-book data at issue in the case is used to attract order flow. NASDAQ believes, however, that evidence not before the court clearly demonstrates that availability of depth data attracts order flow.

Competition among platforms has driven NASDAQ continually to improve its platform data offerings and to cater to customers' data needs.

For the foregoing reasons, 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 purpose 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.

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

The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act.[13] At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend 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 Exchange 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-2011-153. This file number should be included on the subject line if email 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, 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-NASDAQ-2011-153 and should be submitted on or before December 23, 2011.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[14]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 65587 (October 18, 2011), 76 FR 65765 (October 24, 2011) (SR-Nasdaq-2011-144).

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4.  NOTO will provide subscribers with the aggregate number of “opening purchase transactions” in the affected series. An opening purchase transaction is an Exchange options transaction in which the purchaser's intention is to create or increase a long position in the series of options involved in such transaction. NOTO will also provide subscribers with the aggregate number of “opening writing transactions.” An opening writing transaction is an Exchange options transaction in which the seller's (writer's) intention is to create or increase a short position in the series of options involved in such transaction.

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5.  NOTO will provide subscribers with the aggregate number of “closing purchase transactions” in the affected series. A closing purchase transaction is an Exchange options transaction in which the purchaser's intention is to reduce or eliminate a short position in the series of options involved in such transaction. NOTO will also provide subscribers with the aggregate number of “closing sale transactions.” A closing sale transaction is an Exchange options transaction an Exchange options transaction [sic] in which the seller's intention is to reduce or eliminate a long position in the series of options involved in such transaction.

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

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9.  It should also be noted that Section 916 of Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”) has amended paragraph (A) of Section 19(b)(3) of the Act, 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3) to make it clear that all exchange fees, including fees for market data, may be filed by exchanges on an immediately effective basis. Although this change in the law does not alter the Commission's authority to evaluate and ultimately disapprove exchange rules if it concludes that they are not consistent with the Act, it unambiguously reflects a conclusion that market data fee changes do not require prior Commission review before taking effect, and that a formal proceeding with regard to a particular fee change is required only if the Commission determines that it is necessary or appropriate to suspend the fee and institute such a proceeding.

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10.  NetCoaltion [sic], at 15 (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 94-229, at 92 (1975), as reprinted in 1975 U.S.C.C.A.N. 321, 323).

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11.  NetCoalition at 24.

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12.  The International Securities Exchange, Inc. (“ISE”) Open/Close Trade Profile and the ISE Open/Close Trade Profile Intra-Day contain substantially similar data to that included in NOTO End of Day and NOTO Intra-Day. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 56254 (August 15, 2007), 72 FR 47104 (August 22, 2007) (SR-ISE-2007-70). The Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc. (“CBOE”) also offers similar market data. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 55062 (January 8, 2007), 72 FR 2048 (January 17, 2007) (SR-CBOE-2006-88) (order granting approval to proposed rule change to codify a fee schedule for the sale of open and close volume data on CBOE listed options by Market Data Express, LLC).

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13.  15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii).

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[FR Doc. 2011-30989 Filed 12-1-11; 8:45 am]

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