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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Options Regulatory Fee

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December 19, 2012.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on December 7, 2012, C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated (the “Exchange” or “C2”) 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 the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated (the “Exchange” or “C2”) proposes to amend its Options Regulatory Fee. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site (http://www.c2exchange.com/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 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 Exchange has reevaluated the current amount of the Options Regulatory Fee (“ORF”) in connection with its annual budget review. In light of increased regulatory costs and expected volume levels for 2013, the Exchange proposes to increase the ORF from $.0015 per contract to $.002 per contract. The Exchange is amending the ORF due to substantial increases in resources devoted to regulatory services, including the recent hiring of many new employees, increased office space and regulatory systems enhancements. These increased regulatory costs coincide with a decrease in industry transaction volume. The proposed fee would be operative on January 2, 2013.

The ORF is assessed by the Exchange to each Permit Holder for all options transactions executed or cleared by the Permit Holder that are cleared by The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) in the customer range, i.e., transactions that clear in a customer account at OCC, regardless of the marketplace of execution. In other words, the Exchange imposes the ORF on all customer-range transactions executed by a Permit Holder, even if the transactions do not take place on the Exchange.[3] The ORF also is charged for transactions that are not executed by a Permit Holder but are ultimately cleared by a Permit Holder. In the case where a Permit Holder executes a transaction and a different Permit Holder clears the transaction, the ORF is assessed to the Permit Holder who executed the transaction. In the case where a non-Permit Holder executes a transaction and a Permit Holder clears the transaction, the ORF is assessed to the Permit Holder who clears the transaction. The ORF is collected indirectly from Permit Holders through their clearing firms by OCC on behalf of the Exchange.

The ORF is designed to recover a material portion of the costs to the Exchange of the supervision and regulation of Permit Holder customer options business, including performing routine surveillances, investigations, as well as policy, rulemaking, interpretive and enforcement activities. The Exchange believes that revenue generated from the ORF, when combined with all of the Exchange's other regulatory fees and fines, will cover a material portion, but not all, of the Exchange's regulatory costs. The Exchange notes that its regulatory responsibilities with respect to Permit Holder compliance with options sales practice rules have been allocated to FINRA under a 17d-2 agreement. The ORF is not designed to cover the cost of options sales practice regulation.

The Exchange will continue to monitor the amount of revenue collected from the ORF to ensure that it, in combination with its other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed the Exchange's total regulatory costs. If the Exchange determines regulatory revenues exceed regulatory costs, the Exchange will adjust the ORF by submitting a fee change filing to the Commission. The Exchange notifies Permit Holders of adjustments to the ORF via regulatory circular.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”) and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to the Exchange and, in particular, the requirements of Section 6(b) of the Act.[4] Specifically, the Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(4) of the Act5, which provides that Exchange rules may provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its Permit Holders and other persons using its facilities. The Exchange believes the proposed fee change is reasonable because industry transaction volume has declined while the Exchange's regulatory expenses have increased. The Exchange is amending the ORF due to substantial increases in resources devoted to regulatory services, including the recent hiring of many new employees, increased office space and regulatory systems enhancements. The proposed ORF increase would help to offset these increased regulatory expenses but does not result in total regulatory revenue exceeding total regulatory costs.

The Exchange believes the ORF is equitable and not unfairly discriminatory because it is objectively allocated to Permit Holders in that it is charged to all Permit Holders on all their transactions that clear as customer at the OCC. Moreover, the Exchange believes the ORF ensures fairness by assessing higher fees to those Permit Holders that require more Exchange regulatory services based on the amount of customer options business they conduct. Regulating customer trading activity is much more labor intensive and requires greater expenditure of human and technical resources than regulating non-customer trading activity, which tends to be more automated and less labor-intensive. As a result, the costs associated with administering the customer component of the Exchange's overall regulatory program are materially higher than the costs associated with administering the non-customer component (e.g., Permit Holder proprietary transactions) of its regulatory program.[6]

The ORF is designed to recover a material portion of the costs of supervising and regulating Permit Holder customer options business including performing routine surveillances, investigations, examinations, financial monitoring, and policy, rulemaking, interpretive, and enforcement activities. The Exchange will continue to monitor the amount of revenue collected from the ORF to ensure that it, in combination with its other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed the Exchange's total regulatory costs. If the Exchange determines regulatory revenues exceed regulatory costs, the Exchange will adjust the ORF by submitting a fee change filing to the Commission. The Exchange notifies Permit Holders of adjustments to the ORF via regulatory circular.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

C2 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 proposed rule change.

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)[7] of the Act and paragraph (f) of Rule 19b-4[8] 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 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:

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-C2-2012-040. 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 NW., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such 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-C2-2012-040, and should be submitted on or before January 16, 2013.

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[9]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

Footnotes

3.  Exchange rules require each Permit Holder to record the appropriate account origin code on all orders at the time of entry in order to allow the Exchange to properly prioritize and route orders and assess transaction fees pursuant to the rules of the Exchange and report resulting transactions to the OCC. C2 order origin codes are defined in C2 Regulatory Circular RG10-4. The Exchange represents that it has surveillances in place to verify that Permit Holders mark orders with the correct account origin code.

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6.  If the Exchange changes its method of funding regulation or if circumstances otherwise change in the future, the Exchange may decide to modify the ORF or assess a separate regulatory fee on Permit Holder proprietary transactions if the Exchange deems it advisable. See email from Jaime Galvan, Senior Attorney, C2, to Johnna Dumler, Special Counsel, Commission, dated December 18, 2012.

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[FR Doc. 2012-31018 Filed 12-21-12; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P