October 2, 2012.
On August 7, 2012, NYSE Arca, Inc. (“Exchange” or “NYSE Arca”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act” or “Exchange Act”) 
and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,
a proposed rule change to list and trade shares (“Shares”) of FlexShares Ready Access Variable Income Fund (“Fund”) under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on August 23, 2012.
The Commission received no comments on the proposed rule change. This order grants approval of the proposed rule change.
II. Description of the Proposed Rule Change
The Exchange proposes to list and trade Shares of the Fund pursuant to NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600, which governs the listing and trading of Managed Fund Shares on the Exchange. The Shares will be offered by FlexShares Trust (“Trust”), a statutory trust organized under the laws of Maryland and registered with the Commission as an open-end management investment company.
The investment adviser to the Fund will be Northern Trust Investments, Inc. (“Investment Adviser”). Foreside Fund Services, LLC will serve as the distributor for the Fund (“Distributor”). J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. will serve as the administrator, custodian, and transfer agent for the Fund (“Transfer Agent”).
The Investment Adviser is affiliated with a broker-dealer and has implemented a “fire wall” with respect to such broker-dealer regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the Fund's portfolio. If a sub-adviser that is also affiliated with a broker-dealer is hired for the Fund, such sub-adviser will implement a fire wall with respect to such broker-dealer regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the portfolio. In the event (a) the Investment Adviser or any sub-adviser becomes newly affiliated with a broker-dealer, or (b) any new manager, adviser, or sub-adviser becomes affiliated with a broker-dealer, it will implement a fire wall with respect to such broker-dealer regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the portfolio, and will be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material, non-public information regarding such portfolio.
The Fund will not be an index fund. The Fund will be actively managed and will not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index.
The Fund will seek maximum current income consistent with the preservation of capital and liquidity. The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective by investing under normal circumstances 
at least 65% of its total assets in a non-diversified portfolio 
of fixed income instruments, including bonds, debt securities, and other similar instruments issued by U.S. and non-U.S. public and private sector entities.
Such issuers include, without limitation, U.S. and non-U.S. governments and their subdivisions, agencies, instrumentalities, or sponsored enterprises, U.S. state and local governments, international agencies and supranational entities, and U.S. and non-U.S. private-sector entities, such as corporations and banks. The average portfolio duration 
of the Fund will vary based on The Northern Trust Company Investment Policy Committee's forecast for interest rates and will normally not exceed one year. The dollar-weighted average portfolio maturity of the Fund is normally not expected to exceed two years.
The Fund will invest in debt securities that are, at the time of investment, rated within the top four rating categories by a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (“NRSRO”) or of comparable quality as determined by the Investment Adviser.
Subsequent to its purchase by the Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below investment grade or a security may no longer be considered to be investment grade. In such case, the Fund is not required to dispose of the security. The Investment Adviser will determine what action, including potential sale, is in the best interest of the Fund.
The Fund may invest, without limitation, in fixed income instruments of foreign issuers in developed and emerging markets,
including, without limitation, debt securities of emerging-market foreign governments in the following regions: Asia and Pacific, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Within these regions, the Fund may invest in countries such as Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey, although this list may change as market developments occur and may include additional emerging market countries that conform to selected ratings, liquidity, and other criteria. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Fund will not invest more than 20% of its total assets in fixed income instruments of foreign issuers in emerging markets.
Foreign debt securities include direct investments in non-U.S. dollar-denominated debt securities traded primarily outside of the United States and dollar-denominated debt securities of foreign issuers. The Fund will invest in non-U.S. corporate bonds that the Investment Adviser deems to be sufficiently liquid at the time of investment.
Foreign government obligations may include debt obligations of supranational entities, including international organizations (such as the European Coal and Steel Community and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, also known as the World Bank) and international banking institutions and related government agencies. The Fund also may invest in foreign time deposits and other short-term instruments. The Fund may invest a portion of its assets in the obligations of foreign banks and foreign branches of domestic banks.
The Fund may invest, without limitation, in mortgage- or asset-backed securities, other structured securities, including collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”), and also including to-be-announced transactions (or “TBA Transactions”).
A TBA Transaction is a method of trading mortgage-backed securities.
However, the Fund will not invest more than 10% of its total assets in non-agency 
mortgage- or asset-backed securities.
The Fund may invest in variable and floating rate instruments. Variable and floating rate instruments have interest rates that periodically are adjusted either at set intervals or that float at a margin tied to a specified index rate. These instruments include variable amount master demand notes, long-term variable and floating rate bonds where the Fund obtains at the time of purchase the right to put the bond back to the issuer or a third party at par at a specified date, and leveraged inverse floating rate instruments (“inverse floaters”). Some variable and floating rate instruments have interest rates that periodically are adjusted as a result of changes in inflation rates.
Because there is no active secondary market for certain variable and floating rate instruments, they may be more difficult to sell if the issuer defaults on its payment obligations or during periods when the Fund is not entitled to exercise its demand rights. In addition, variable and floating rate instruments are subject to changes in value based on changes in market interest rates or changes in the issuer's or guarantor's creditworthiness.
The Fund may borrow money and enter into reverse repurchase agreements in amounts not exceeding one-fourth of the value of its total assets (including the amount borrowed). To the extent consistent with its investment objective and strategies, the Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with financial institutions such as banks and broker-dealers that are deemed to be creditworthy by the Investment Adviser and may invest a portion of its assets in custodial receipts.
The Fund may engage in forward foreign currency transactions for hedging purposes in order to protect against uncertainty in the level of future foreign currency exchange rates, to facilitate local settlements, or to protect against currency exposure in connection with its distributions to shareholders.
The Fund, however, does not expect to engage in currency transactions for speculative purposes (e.g., for potential income or capital gain). A forward currency exchange contract is an obligation to exchange one currency for another on a future date at a specified exchange rate.
To the extent consistent with its investment policies, the Fund may hold up to 15% of its net assets in securities that are illiquid (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A Securities and master demand notes. The aggregate value of all of the Fund's illiquid securities, Rule 144A Securities, master demand notes, fixed and variable rate loan participations and assignments, inverse floaters, and long-term variable and floating rate bonds where the Fund obtains at the time of purchase the right to put the bond back to the issuer or a third party at par at a specified date shall not exceed 15% of the Fund's total assets. The Fund will monitor its portfolio liquidity on an ongoing basis to determine whether, in light of current circumstances, an adequate level of liquidity is being maintained, and will consider taking appropriate steps in order to maintain adequate liquidity if, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, more than 15% of the Fund's net assets are held in illiquid securities.
The Fund may purchase and sell securities on a when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment basis. The Fund also may, without limitation, seek to obtain market exposure to the securities in which it primarily invests by entering into a series of purchase and sale contracts (such as buy backs or mortgage dollar rolls).
The Fund may temporarily hold cash and cash-like instruments or invest in short-term obligations pending investment or to meet anticipated redemption requests. The Fund also may hold up to 100% of its total assets in cash or cash-like instruments or invest in short-term obligations as a temporary measure mainly designed to limit the Fund's losses in response to adverse market, economic, or other conditions. The Fund may not achieve its investment objective when it holds cash or cash-like instruments, or invests its assets in short-term obligations or otherwise makes temporary investments. The Fund also may miss investment opportunities and have a lower total return during these periods.
The Fund may not purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments.
The Fund may not concentrate its investments (i.e., invest 25% or more of its total assets in the securities of a particular industry or industry group). For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
The Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies. Such investments will be limited so that, as determined after a purchase is made, either: (a) not more than 3% of the total outstanding stock of such investment company will be owned by the Fund, the Trust as a whole, and its affiliated persons (as defined in the 1940 Act); or (b)(i) not more than 5% of the value of the total assets of the Fund will be invested in the securities of any one investment company, (ii) not more than 10% of the value of its total assets will be invested in the aggregate securities of investment companies as a group, and (iii) not more than 3% of the outstanding voting stock of any one investment company will be owned by the Fund. These limits will not apply to the investment of uninvested cash balances in shares of registered or unregistered money market funds whether affiliated or unaffiliated. The foregoing exemption, however, only applies to an unregistered money market fund that (i) limits its investments to those in which a money market fund may invest under Rule 2a-7 of the 1940 Act, and (ii) undertakes to comply with all the other provisions of Rule 2a-7.
Investments by the Fund in other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”),
will be subject to the limitations of the 1940 Act except as expressly permitted by Commission orders. The Fund also may invest in other types of U.S. exchange-traded products, such as Exchange-Traded Notes.
The Fund intends to qualify as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of Subtitle A, Chapter 1, of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Fund will not invest in any non-U.S registered equity securities. The Fund's investments will be consistent with the Fund's investment objective and will not be used to enhance leverage. That is, while the Fund will be permitted to borrow as permitted under the 1940 Act, the Fund's investments will not be used to seek performance that is the multiple or inverse multiple (i.e., 2Xs and 3Xs) of the Fund's benchmark (i.e., the Citigroup 3-Month Treasury Bill Index).
Consistent with the Exemptive Order, the Fund will not invest in options contracts, futures contracts, or swap agreements.
The Exchange represents that the Shares will conform to the initial and continued listing criteria under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600. Consistent with NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600(d)(2)(B)(ii), the Investment Adviser will implement and maintain, or be subject to, procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material, non-public information regarding the actual components of the Fund's portfolio. The Exchange represents that, for initial and/or continued listing, the Fund will be in compliance with Rule 10A-3 under the Exchange Act,
as provided by NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.3. A minimum of 100,000 Shares will be outstanding at the commencement of trading on the Exchange. The Exchange will obtain a representation from the issuer of the Shares that the net asset value (“NAV”) per Share will be calculated daily and that the NAV and the Disclosed Portfolio, as defined in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600(c)(2), will be made available to all market participants at the same time.
Additional information regarding the Trust, Fund, Shares, Fund's investment strategies, risks, creation and redemption procedures, fees, portfolio holdings and disclosure policies, distributions and taxes, availability of information, trading rules and halts, and surveillance procedures, among other things, can be found in the Notice and/or the Registration Statement, as applicable.
III. Discussion and Commission's Findings
After careful review, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of Section 6 of the Act 
and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.
In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,
which requires, among other things, that the Exchange's rules be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, 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 Commission notes that the Fund and the Shares must comply with the requirements of NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600 to be listed and traded on the Exchange.
The Commission finds that the proposal to list and trade the Shares on the Exchange is consistent with Section 11A(a)(1)(C)(iii) of the Act,
which sets forth Congress's finding that it is in the public interest and appropriate for the protection of investors and the maintenance of fair and orderly markets to assure the availability to brokers, dealers, and investors of information with respect to quotations for, and transactions in, securities. Quotation and last-sale information for the Shares will be available via the Consolidated Tape Association (“CTA”) high-speed line. In addition, the Portfolio Indicative Value, as defined in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600(c)(3), will be widely disseminated by one or more major market data vendors at least every 15 seconds during the Core Trading Session.
On each business day, before commencement of trading in Shares in the Core Trading Session on the Exchange, the Fund will disclose on the Trust's Web site the Disclosed Portfolio, as defined in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600(c)(2), that will form the basis for the Fund's calculation of NAV at the end of the business day.
The NAV of the Fund will normally be determined as of the close of the regular trading session (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) on each business day. Further, a basket composition file, which includes the security names and share quantities, if applicable, required to be delivered in exchange for Fund Shares, together with estimates and actual cash components, will be publicly disseminated daily prior to the opening of the NYSE via the National Securities Clearing Corporation. Information regarding market price and trading volume of the Shares will be continually available on a real-time basis throughout the day on brokers' computer screens and other electronic services. Information regarding the previous day's closing price and trading volume information for the Shares will be published daily in the financial section of newspapers. In addition, price information for the debt securities, fixed income instruments, and other investments, including forwards and securities of other investment companies, held by the Fund will be available through major market data vendors and/or the securities exchange on which they are listed and traded. The Trust's Web site will include a form of the prospectus for the Fund and additional data relating to NAV and other applicable quantitative information.
The Commission further believes that the proposal to list and trade the Shares is reasonably designed to promote fair disclosure of information that may be necessary to price the Shares appropriately and to prevent trading when a reasonable degree of transparency cannot be assured. The Commission notes that the Exchange will obtain a representation from the issuer of the Shares that the NAV per Share will be calculated daily and that the NAV and the Disclosed Portfolio will be made available to all market participants at the same time.
In addition, trading in the Shares will be subject to NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600(d)(2)(D), which sets forth circumstances under which Shares of the Fund may be halted. The Exchange may halt trading in the Shares if trading is not occurring in the securities and/or the financial instruments comprising the Disclosed Portfolio of the Fund, or if other unusual conditions or circumstances detrimental to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market are present.
Further, the Commission notes that the Reporting Authority that provides the Disclosed Portfolio must implement and maintain, or be subject to, procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material, non-public information regarding the actual components of the portfolio.
The Exchange states that it has a general policy prohibiting the distribution of material, non-public information by its employees. The Exchange also states that the Investment Adviser is affiliated with a broker-dealer and has implemented a “fire wall” with respect to such broker-dealer regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the Fund's portfolio.
Moreover, the Exchange represents that it is able to obtain information via the Intermarket Surveillance Group (“ISG”) from other exchanges that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has in place a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement.
The Exchange represents that the Shares are deemed to be equity securities, thus rendering trading in the Shares subject to the Exchange's existing rules governing the trading of equity securities. In support of this proposal, the Exchange has made representations, including:
(1) The Shares will conform to the initial and continued listing criteria under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600.
(2) The Exchange has appropriate rules to facilitate transactions in the Shares during all trading sessions.
(3) The Exchange's surveillance procedures applicable to derivative products, which include Managed Fund Shares, are adequate to properly monitor Exchange trading of the Shares in all trading sessions and to deter and detect violations of Exchange rules and applicable federal securities laws.
(4) Prior to the commencement of trading, the Exchange will inform its Equity Trading Permit Holders (“ETP Holders”) in an Information Bulletin of the special characteristics and risks associated with trading the Shares. Specifically, the Information Bulletin will discuss the following: (a) The procedures for purchases and redemptions of Shares in Creation Unit aggregations (and that Shares are not individually redeemable); (b) NYSE Arca Equities Rule 9.2(a), which imposes a duty of due diligence on its ETP Holders to learn the essential facts relating to every customer prior to trading the Shares; (c) the risks involved in trading the Shares during the Opening and Late Trading Sessions when an updated Portfolio Indicative Value will not be calculated or publicly disseminated; (d) how information regarding the Portfolio Indicative Value is disseminated; (e) the requirement that ETP Holders deliver a prospectus to investors purchasing newly issued Shares prior to or concurrently with the confirmation of a transaction; and (f) trading information.
(5) For initial and/or continued listing, the Fund will be in compliance with Rule 10A-3 under the Exchange Act,
as provided by NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.3.
(6) The Fund will invest in debt securities that are, at the time of investment, rated within the top four rating categories by an NRSRO.
(7) The Fund will invest only in non-U.S. corporate bonds that the Investment Adviser deems to be sufficiently liquid at time of investment. Generally, a corporate bond must have $200 million (or an equivalent value if denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars) or more par amount outstanding and significant par value traded to be considered as an eligible investment.
(8) The Fund will not invest: (a) More than 20% of its total assets in fixed income instruments of foreign issuers in emerging markets; (b) more than 10% of its total assets in non-agency mortgage- or asset-backed securities; (c) consistent with the Exemptive Order, in options contracts, futures contracts, or swap agreements; and (d) in any non-U.S. registered equity securities.
(9) The aggregate value of all of the Fund's illiquid securities, Rule 144A Securities, master demand notes, fixed and variable rate loan participations and assignments, inverse floaters, and long-term variable and floating rate bonds where the Fund obtains at the time of purchase the right to put the bond back to the issuer or a third party at par at a specified date shall not exceed 15% of the Fund's total assets.
(10) The Fund's investments will be consistent with the Fund's investment objective and will not be used to enhance leverage.
(11) A minimum of 100,000 Shares of the Fund will be outstanding at the commencement of trading on the Exchange.
This approval order is based on all of the Exchange's representations, including those set forth above and in the Notice, and the Exchange's description of the Fund.
For the foregoing reasons, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act 
and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.
It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,
that the proposed rule change (SR-NYSEArca-2012-82) be, and it hereby is, approved.
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.35
Kevin M. O'Neill,
[FR Doc. 2012-24738 Filed 10-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P