November 2, 2012.
Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),
and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,
notice is hereby given that on October 25, 2012, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated (“Exchange” or “CBOE”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Exchange has designated the proposal as a “non-controversial” proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act 
and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.
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 proposing to extend the operation of its Flexible Exchange Options (“FLEX Options”) pilot program regarding permissible exercise settlement values for FLEX Index Options, which pilot program is currently set to expire on November 2, 2012 or the date on which the pilot program is approved on a permanent basis.
The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site (www.cboe.org/Legal), at the Exchange's Office of the Secretary and at the Commission.
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 those 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 parts of such statements.
A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
On January 28, 2010, the Exchange received approval of a rule change that, among other things, established a pilot program regarding permissible exercise settlement values for FLEX Index Options. The pilot program is currently set to expire on the earlier of November 2, 2012 or the date on which the pilot program is approved on a permanent basis.
The purpose of this rule change filing is to extend the pilot program through the earlier of November 2, 2013 or the date on which the pilot program is approved on a permanent basis. This filing simply seeks to extend the operation of the pilot program and does not propose any substantive changes to the pilot program.
Background on the Pilot
Under Rules 24A.4, Terms of FLEX Options, and 24B.4, Terms of FLEX Options, a FLEX Option may expire on any business day specified as to day, month and year, not to exceed a maximum term of fifteen years. In addition, the exercise settlement value for a FLEX Index Option can be specified as the index value determined by reference to the reported level of the index as derived from the opening or closing prices of the component securities (“a.m. settlement” or “p.m. settlement,” respectively) or as a specified average, provided that the average index value must conform to the averaging parameters established by the Exchange.
However, prior to the initiation of the exercise settlement values pilot, only a.m. settlements were permitted if a FLEX Index Option expires on, or within two business days of, a third-Friday-of-the-month expiration (“Expiration Friday”).
Under the exercise settlement values pilot, this restriction on p.m. and specified average price settlements in FLEX Index Options was eliminated.
The exercise settlement values pilot is currently set to expire on the earlier of November 2, 2012 or the date on which the pilot program is approved on a permanent basis.
CBOE is proposing to extend the pilot program through the earlier of November 2, 2013 or the date on which the pilot program is approved on a permanent basis. CBOE believes the pilot program has been successful and well received by its membership and the investing public for the period that it has been in operation as a pilot. In support of the proposed extension of the pilot program, and as required by the pilot program's Approval Order, the Exchange has submitted to the Commission pilot program reports regarding the pilot, which detail the Exchange's experience with the program. Specifically, the Exchange provided the Commission an annual report analyzing volume and open interest for each broad-based FLEX Index Options class overlying an Expiration Friday, p.m.-settled FLEX Index Options series.
The annual report also contained information and analysis of FLEX Index Options trading patterns. The Exchange also provided the Commission, on a periodic basis, interim reports of volume and open interest. The reports were provided to the Commission on a confidential basis.
The Exchange believes there is sufficient investor interest and demand in the pilot program to warrant its extension. The Exchange believes that, for the period that the pilot has been in operation, the program has provided investors with additional means of managing their risk exposures and carrying out their investment objectives. Furthermore, the Exchange believes that it has not experienced any adverse market effects with respect to the pilot program, including any adverse market volatility effects that might occur as a result of large FLEX exercises in FLEX Option series that expire near Non-FLEX expirations and use a p.m. settlement (as discussed below).
In that regard, based on the Exchange's experience in trading FLEX Options to date and over the pilot period, CBOE continues to believe that the restrictions on exercise settlement values are no longer necessary to insulate Non-FLEX expirations from the potential adverse market impacts of FLEX expirations.
To the contrary, CBOE believes that the restriction actually places the Exchange at a competitive disadvantage to its OTC counterparts in the market for customized options, and unnecessarily limits market participants' ability to trade in an exchange environment that offers the added benefits of transparency, price discovery, liquidity, and financial stability.
The Exchange also notes that certain position limit, aggregation and exercise limit requirements continue to apply to FLEX Index Options in accordance with Rules 24A.7, Position Limits and Reporting Requirements, 24A.8, Exercise Limits, 24B.7, Position Limits and Reporting Requirements, and 24B.8, Exercise Limits. Additionally, all FLEX Options remain subject to the position reporting requirements in paragraph (a) of CBOE Rule 4.13, Reports Related to Position Limits.
Moreover, the Exchange and its Trading Permit Holder organizations each have the authority, pursuant to CBOE Rule 12.10, Margin Required is Minimum, to impose additional margin as deemed advisable. CBOE continues to believe these existing safeguards serve sufficiently to help monitor open interest in FLEX Option series and significantly reduce any risk of adverse market effects that might occur as a result of large FLEX exercises in FLEX Option series that expire near Non-FLEX expirations and use a p.m. settlement.
CBOE is also cognizant of the OTC market, in which similar restrictions on exercise settlement values do not apply. CBOE continues to believe that the pilot program is appropriate and reasonable and provides market participants with additional flexibility in determining whether to execute their customized options in an exchange environment or in the OTC market. CBOE continues to believe that market participants benefit from being able to trade these customized options in an exchange environment in several ways, including, but not limited to, enhanced efficiency in initiating and closing out positions, increased market transparency, and heightened contra-party creditworthiness due to the role of OCC as issuer and guarantor of FLEX Options.
If, in the future, the Exchange proposes an additional extension of the pilot program, or should the Exchange propose to make the pilot program permanent (which the Exchange currently intends to do), the Exchange will submit, along with any filing proposing such amendments to the pilot program, an additional pilot program report covering the extended period during which the pilot program was in effect and including the details referenced above and consistent with the pilot program's Approval Order. The pilot program report would be submitted to the Commission at least two months prior to the new expiration date of the pilot program. The Exchange will also continue, on a periodic basis, to submit interim reports of volume and open interest consistent with the terms of the exercise settlement values pilot program as described in the pilot program's Approval Order. All such pilot reports would continue to be provided on a confidential basis.
As noted in the pilot program's Approval Order, any positions established under the pilot program would not be impacted by the expiration of the pilot program.
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) of the Act 
in particular in that it should promote just and equitable principles of trade, serve to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and protect investors and the public interest. Specifically, the Exchange believes that the proposed extension of the pilot program, which permits additional exercise settlement values, would provide greater opportunities for investors to manage risk through the use of FLEX Options. Further, the Exchange believes that it has not experienced any adverse effects from the operation of the pilot program, including any adverse market volatility effects that might occur as a result of large FLEX exercises in FLEX Option series that expire near Non-FLEX expirations and use a p.m. settlement. The Exchange also believes that the extension of the exercise settlement values pilot does not raise any unique regulatory concerns. In particular, although p.m. settlements may raise questions with the Commission, the Exchange believes that, based on the Exchange's experience in trading FLEX Options to date and over the pilot period, market impact and investor protection concerns will not be raised by this rule change. The Exchange also believes that the proposed rule change would continue to provide Trading Permit Holders and investors with additional opportunities to trade customized options in an exchange environment (which offers the added benefits of transparency, price discovery, liquidity, and financial stability as compared to the over-the-counter market) and subject to exchange-based rules, and investors would benefit as a result.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
CBOE does not believe that the proposed rule change will 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 neither solicited nor received comments on the proposal.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
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, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act 
and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.
A proposed rule change filed pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6) under the Act 
normally does not become operative for 30 days after the date of its filing. However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6) 
permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The Exchange requested that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay so that the proposed rule change may become operative upon filing. The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. The Commission notes that waiving the 30-day operative delay would prevent the expiration of the pilot programs on November 2, 2012, prior to the extension of the pilot program becoming operative. Therefore, the Commission hereby waives the 30-day operative delay and designates the proposal 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.
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-CBOE-2012-102. 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-CBOE-2012-102 and should be submitted on or before November 29, 2012.
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.23
Kevin M. O'Neill,
[FR Doc. 2012-27290 Filed 11-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P