June 5, 2012.
Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),
and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,
notice is hereby given that on June 5, 2012, the International Securities Exchange, LLC (the “Exchange” or the “ISE”) 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 the self-regulatory organization. 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 temporarily suspend the requirements of ISE Rule 306 and related ISE rules concerning approval of new member organizations in order to approve Apex Clearing Corporation, f/k/a Ridge Clearing and Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. (“Apex Clearing”) as an ISE member organization, subject to Apex Clearing complying with Exchange rules for a new member organization within 30 calendar days of the date that Apex Clearing is provisionally approved as an ISE member organization. The Exchange is also proposing to accept Apex Clearing's assumption of all of the existing clearing agreements and arrangements currently in effect between Penson Financial Services Inc. (“PFSI”) and various other ISE member organizations by execution of a global agreement thereto.
The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Internet Web site at http://www.ise.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 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 these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The self-regulatory organization 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
The Exchange proposes this rule filing to temporarily suspend the requirements of ISE Rule 306 and related rules regarding the approval of Members of the Exchange in order to immediately approve Apex Clearing as an ISE Member. The Exchange proposes this temporary suspension on an emergency basis to ensure that Apex Clearing can continue the clearing operations of PFSI without unnecessary disruption, which could have a significant collateral impact to a number of other Members. The proposed temporary suspension is contingent upon Apex having complied with all new Member Exchange rules within 30 calendar days of the date Apex is provisionally approved as an ISE Member pursuant to this filing.
On May 31, 2012, Apex Clearing Holdings, LLC (“Apex Holdings”), Apex Clearing Solutions, LLC, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (“Broadridge”), PFSI and Penson Worldwide, Inc. (“PWI”) (together, the “Parties”) consummated a transaction resulting in a change in ownership of Apex Clearing.
Broadridge, Apex Holdings, PWI and PFSI each made capital investments in Apex Holdings, the holding company parent of Apex Clearing. PFSI also assigned all of its U.S. clearing contracts and all customer and introducing broker proprietary accounts along with key personnel to Apex Clearing (the “Transferring Accounts”).
As a result of the transaction, Apex Clearing, which is not an ISE member organization, will provide the clearing services currently provided to the Transferring Accounts by PFSI. On May 31, 2012, Apex Clearing submitted an application for approval as an ISE Member. However, because of the expedited nature of the transaction, Apex Clearing was unable to fully comply with ISE Rule 306 and related new Member rules. Because of the need for seamless continuity with respect to the Transferring Accounts, Apex Clearing has requested that the Exchange temporarily suspend its new membership rules in order to enable Apex Clearing's approval as a Member on an expedited basis. Pursuant to its request, Apex Clearing will fully comply with the Exchange's new member requirements within 30 calendar days of provisional approval.
ISE Rule 306 requires any person who proposes to apply to become a Member of the Exchange to file an application with the Exchange submit such information as may be required by the application and related ISE rules. When a corporate acquisition concerns an asset transfer only, and not an acquisition of the corporate entity, ISE membership status cannot be transferred to the acquiring entity. The entity that proposes to continue acquired business operations of an ISE Member must be separately approved as an ISE Member.
Among other things, to be approved as an ISE Member, the applicant must:
- File with the Exchange an application and all documents requested therein pursuant to ISE Rule 306.
- Ensure that all persons associated with the applicant who meet the requirements of persons associated with Members under ISE Rule 304, consent to ISE jurisdiction as a Member or associated person.
- Submit to the Exchange partnership or corporate documents as may be applicable including certificate of incorporation, by-laws, and other corporate documents pursuant to ISE Rule 305.
In addition, the Exchange reviews whether the applicant meets federal and ISE capital requirements and whether it has adopted controls and procedures to comply with Exchange rules.
Due to the amount of information an applicant is required to provide and have completed prior to being approved as a Member, the Member approval process generally takes several weeks to complete. The length of time varies based on the timing of the applicant's response to requests for information and documentation.
As proposed, Apex Clearing will continue the clearing and certain other operations of PFSI as of June 6, 2012. In order to avoid interruption of the services PFSI currently provides to other Exchange Members, the ISE believes that Apex Clearing should be approved immediately as an ISE Member. The Exchange notes that Apex Clearing is already a registered broker dealer, a FINRA member and an OCC clearing member, which is a prerequisite for becoming an ISE member organization that is approved to clear transactions executed on the Exchange.
The Exchange therefore proposes providing Apex Clearing with a temporary suspension of ISE Rule 306 and related membership rules as they relate to approval to operate an ISE Member and approval of a proposed Member's associated persons, and immediately approve Apex Clearing as a Member. As proposed this temporary suspension is contingent upon:
- Apex Clearing providing the Exchange with sufficient information to confirm that Apex Clearing will meet its capital requirements as an ISE Member; and
- Within 30 calendar days of Apex Clearing's approval as an ISE Member under this proposed filing, Apex Clearing and its approved persons will have complied with the Exchange's new member organization requirements as set forth in ISE Rules 304-306.
As proposed, if Apex Clearing does not comply with all applicable ISE member organization application requirements within 30 calendar days of the effective date of this filing, its status as an approved ISE Member will no longer be effective.
In addition, the Exchange proposes to permit Apex Clearing to assume all existing clearing agreements and arrangements currently in effect with other ISE Members by execution of global agreements thereto. Notice of such assumption will be provided to impacted Members via email.
2. Statutory Basis
The Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) 
of the Act, in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) 
in particular in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts, to remove impediments to and to 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 permitting the expeditious approval of Apex Clearing as an ISE Member will avoid interruption of the services PFSI currently provides to other Exchange Members. Based on information and representations provided by Apex Clearing, a temporary suspension of certain ISE membership rules is needed based on the expedited nature of the transaction to enable seamless continuity with respect to the transferring accounts. Consequently, the ISE believes that temporary suspension of its Member requirements so that Apex Clearing can be approved immediately as an ISE Member will help to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities and is consistent with the Act.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The proposed rule change does not 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
The Exchange has not solicited, and does not intend to solicit, comments on this proposed rule change. The Exchange has not received any unsolicited written comments from members or other interested parties.
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 
and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.
Because the 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 prior to 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 the public interest, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act 
and Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) thereunder.
A proposed rule change filed under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) 
normally does not become operative prior to 30 days after the date of the filing. However, pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii),
the Commission may designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest.
The Exchange has asked the Commission to waive the five-day pre-filing requirement and the 30-day operative delay so that the proposed rule change may become operative immediately upon filing. The Commission notes that the Exchange is proposing that certain of its rules relating to membership requirements be temporarily suspended so that Apex Clearing can be provisionally approved as an ISE Member. The proposed relief does not exempt Apex Clearing from Exchange rule requirements governing Members. Apex Clearing would have a 30 calendar day grace period within which to apply for and be approved under relevant Exchange rules. Moreover, the Commission believes that waiver of the 30-day operative delay is appropriate to ensure a smooth transition of PFSI operations to Apex Clearing. In particular, given the rapidity with which events have developed, waiver of the 30-day operative delay is necessary to avoid significant disruption to PFSI's existing customers and the market generally. Therefore, the Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest and designates the proposed rule change as operative upon filing.
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. 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:
- 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-ISE-2012-51. 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 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 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-ISE-2012-51 and should be submitted on or before July 2, 2012.
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.
Kevin M. O'Neill,
[FR Doc. 2012-14071 Filed 6-8-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P