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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Attestation Requirement of Rule 4780 To Allow a Retail Member Organization To Attest That “Substantially All” Orders Submitted to the Retail Price Improvement Program Will Qualify as “Retail Orders”

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Start Preamble March 5, 2013.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on February 19, 2013, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III 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

NASDAQ is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change amend the attestation requirement of NASDAQ Rule 4780 to allow a Retail Member Organization (“RMO”) to attest that “substantially all” orders submitted to the Retail Price Improvement Program (the “Program”) will qualify as “Retail Orders.” NASDAQ Rule 4780(b)(2)(C) currently requires RMOs to attest that “any order” will so qualify, effectively preventing certain significant retail brokers from participating in the Program due to operational constraints.

The text of the proposed rule change is available from NASDAQ's Web site at http://nasdaq.cchwallstreet.com/​Filings/​, at NASDAQ's principal office, 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, NASDAQ 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. NASDAQ 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 is proposing an amendment to NASDAQ Rule 4780(b)(2)(C) to provide that an RMO may attest that “substantially all” of the orders it submits to the Program are Retail Orders, as defined in NASDAQ Rule 4780(a)(2), replacing the requirement that the RMO must attest Start Printed Page 15393that all submitted orders qualify as Retail Orders.[3]

Under current NASDAQ Rule 4780, a member organization wishing to become an RMO must submit: (A) An application form; (B) supporting documentation; and (C) an attestation that “any order” submitted as a Retail Order will qualify as such under NASDAQ Rule 4780.[4]

Accordingly, the Exchange is proposing a de minimis relaxation of the RMO attestation requirement in order to accommodate these system limitations and expand the access of retail customers to the benefits of the Program. Specifically, as proposed an RMO would be permitted to send de minimis quantities of agency orders to the Exchange as Retail Orders that cannot be explicitly attested to under existing definitions of the Program.

The Exchange will issue an Equity Trader Alert to make clear that the “substantially all” language is meant to permit the presence of only isolated and de minimis quantities of agency orders that do not qualify as Retail Orders that cannot be segregated from Retail Orders due to systems limitations. In this regard, an RMO would need to retain, in its books and records, adequate substantiation that substantially all orders sent to the Exchange as Retail Orders met the strict definition and that those orders not meeting the strict definition are agency orders that cannot be segregated from Retail Orders due to system limitations, and are de minimis in terms of the overall number of Retail Orders sent to the Exchange.[5]

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder that are applicable to a national securities exchange, and, in particular, with the requirements of Section 6(b) of the Act.[6] In particular, the Exchange believes the proposed change furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[7] in that it is 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, and to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system.

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices because, while the proposed rule change represents a relaxation of the attestation requirements, the change is a de minimis relaxation that still requires the RMO applicant to attest that “substantially all” of its orders will qualify as Retail Orders. The slight relaxation will allow enough flexibility to accommodate system limitations while still ensuring that only a fractional amount of orders submitted to the Program would not qualify as Retail Orders.

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change promotes just and equitable principles of trade because it will ensure that similarly situated member organizations who have only slight differences in the capability of their systems will be able to equally benefit from the Program.

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system because it will allow member organizations, who are concerned about its system limitations not allowing 100% certification that submitted orders are Retail Orders, to still participate in the Program. By removing impediments to participation in the Program, the proposed change would permit expanded access of retail customers to the price improvement and transparency offered by the Program and thereby potentially stimulate further price competition for retail orders.

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

NASDAQ does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The Exchange believes that the amendment, by increasing the level of participation in the Program, will increase the level of competition around retail executions such that retail investors would receive better prices than they currently do on the Exchange and potentially through bilateral internalization arrangements. The Exchange believes that the transparency and competitiveness of operating a program such as the Retail Price Improvement Program on an exchange market would result in better prices for retail investors, and benefits retail investors by expanding the capabilities of Exchanges to encompass practices currently allowed on non-Exchange venues.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be 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-NASDAQ-2013-031. 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 Start Printed Page 15394post 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 such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of NASDAQ. 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 publicly available. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2013-031 and should be submitted on or before April 1, 2013.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[8]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 68747 (January 28, 2013) (SR-NYSE-2013-08) (substantially similar to the filing at hand).

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4.  A Retail Order is defined in NASDAQ Rule 4780(a)(2), in part, as “an agency or riskless principal order that originates from a natural person and is submitted to NASDAQ by a Retail Member Organization, provided that no change is made to the terms of the order with respect to price (except in the case that a market order is changed to a marketable limit order) or side of market and the order does not originate from a trading algorithm or any other computerized methodology.”

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5.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., on behalf of the Exchange, will review a member organization's compliance with these requirements.

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[FR Doc. 2013-05537 Filed 3-8-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P