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Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC Relating to the Proprietary Traders Qualification Examination (“Series 56”)

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Start Preamble March 22, 2012.

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 March 21, 2012, NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been Start Printed Page 19043prepared 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 is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the content outline and selection specifications for the Proprietary Traders Qualification Examination (“Series 56”) program. Phlx will implement the proposal upon notice to its membership.

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at​micro.aspx?​id=​PHLXRulefilings, 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

Recently, Phlx filed a proposed rule change to recognize a new category of limited representative registration for proprietary traders.[3] Specifically, Phlx will recognize the new registration category “Proprietary Trader” and the new examination, the Series 56. The new Proprietary Trader category would be limited to persons engaged solely in proprietary trading, market making or effecting transactions on behalf of a broker-dealer account.

The Exchange has been working with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and certain other markets, many of which have recently enhanced their registration requirements to require the registration of associated persons,[4] to develop the content outline and qualification examination that would be applicable to proprietary traders. The Series 56 examination program is shared by Phlx and the following: Boston Options Exchange; C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; International Securities Exchange, LLC; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; National Stock Exchange, Inc.; New York Stock Exchange LLC; NYSE AMEX LLC; and NYSE ARCA, Inc. FINRA staff convened a committee of industry representatives and staff of the various markets to develop the criteria for the Series 56 examination program.

The Series 56 examination tests a candidate's knowledge of proprietary trading generally and the industry rules applicable to trading of equity securities and listed options contracts. The Series 56 examination covers, among other things, recordkeeping and recording requirements, types and characteristics of securities and investments, trading practices and display execution and trading systems. While the examination is primarily dedicated to topics related to proprietary trading, the Series 56 examination also covers a few general concepts relating to customers.[5]

The qualification examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions. Candidates will have 150 minutes to complete the exam. The content outline describes the following topical sections comprising the examination: Personnel, Business Conduct and Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements, 9 questions; Markets, Market Participants, Exchanges, and Self-Regulatory Organizations, 8 questions; Types and Characteristics of Securities and Investments, 20 questions; Trading Practices and Prohibited Acts, 50 questions; and Display, Execution, and Trading Systems, 13 questions. Representatives from the applicable markets intend to meet on a periodic basis to evaluate and, as necessary, update the Series 56 examination program.

The Exchange understands that the other applicable markets will also file with the Commission similar filings regarding the Series 56 examination program. The Exchange proposes to implement the Series 56 examination program upon availability in WebCRD, notification to its membership and approval of SR-Phlx-2012-23.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [6] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(c)(3)(B) of the Act,[7] pursuant to which a national securities exchange prescribes standards of training, experience and competence for members and their associated persons, in particular, by offering a new qualification examination for proprietary traders. This filing provides the content outline and relevant specifications for the Series 56 examination program, which should help ensure that all associated persons engaged in a securities business are, and will continue to be, properly trained and qualified to perform their functions.

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.

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, it has become effective pursuant to 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [8] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) [9] thereunder.

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 Start Printed Page 19044public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or 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-PHLX-2012-37. 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 (​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 such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal offices 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-2012-37, and should be submitted on or before April 19, 2012.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[10]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble


3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 66497 (March 1, 2012), 77 FR 13668 (March 7, 2012) (SR-Phlx-2012-23).

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4.  See e.g., Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 63843 (February 4, 2011), 76 FR 7884 (February 11, 2011) (SR-ISE-2010-115); and 63314 (November 12, 2010), 75 FR 70957 (November 19, 2010) (SR-CBOE-2010-084).

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5.  Proprietary trading firms don not have customers.

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9.  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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[FR Doc. 2012-7571 Filed 3-28-12; 8:45 am]