March 7, 2013.
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 March 5, 2013, NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (“BX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II, 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 Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
The Exchange proposes to adopt a new Chapter V, Section 3(d)(iii) to provide for how the Exchange proposes to treat options market-making quoting obligations, in response to the Regulation NMS Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility.
The text of the proposed rule change is below; proposed new language is italicized.
* * * * *
Chapter V Regulation of Trading on BX Options
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Sec. 3 Trading Halts
(a)-(c) No change.
(d) This paragraph shall be in effect during a pilot period to coincide with the pilot period for the Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility Pursuant to Rule 608 of Regulation NMS, as it may be amended from time to time (“LULD Plan”). Capitalized terms used in this paragraph shall have the same meaning as provided for in the LULD Plan. During a Limit State and Straddle State in the Underlying NMS stock:
(i)-(ii) No change.
(iii) When evaluating whether a Market Maker has met the continuous quoting obligations of Chapter VII, Section 6(d) in options overlying NMS stocks, the Exchange will not consider as part of the trading day the time that an NMS stock underlying an option was in a Limit State or Straddle State.
(e) No change.
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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 the Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
The Exchange proposes to adopt Chapter V, Section 3(d)(iii) 
to provide for how the Exchange will treat options market making quoting obligations in response to the Regulation NMS Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility (the “Plan”), which is applicable to all NMS stocks, as defined in Regulation NMS Rule 600(b)(47). The Exchange proposes to adopt new Chapter V, Section 3(d)(iii) for a pilot period that coincides with the pilot period for the Plan.
Since May 6, 2010, when the markets experienced excessive volatility in an abbreviated time period, i.e., the “flash crash,” the equities exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) have implemented market-wide measures designed to restore investor confidence by reducing the potential for excessive market volatility. Among the measures adopted include pilot plans for stock-by-stock trading pauses,
related changes to the equities market clearly erroneous execution rules,
and more stringent equities market maker quoting requirements.
On May 31, 2012, the Commission approved the Plan, as amended, on a one-year pilot basis.
In addition, the Commission approved changes to the equities market-wide circuit breaker rules on a pilot basis to coincide with the pilot period for the Plan.
The Plan is designed to prevent trades in individual NMS stocks from occurring outside of specified Price Bands.
As described more fully below, the requirements of the Plan are coupled with Trading Pauses to accommodate more fundamental price moves (as opposed to erroneous trades or momentary gaps in liquidity). All trading centers in NMS stocks, including both those operated by Participants and those operated by members of Participants, are required to establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to comply with the requirements specified in the Plan.
As set forth in more detail in the Plan, Price Bands consisting of a Lower Price Band and an Upper Price Band for each NMS Stock are calculated by the Processors.
When the National Best Bid (Offer) is below (above) the Lower (Upper) Price Band, the Processors shall disseminate such National Best Bid (Offer) with an appropriate flag identifying it as unexecutable. When the National Best Bid (Offer) is equal to the Upper (Lower) Price Band, the Processors shall distribute such National Best Bid (Offer) with an appropriate flag identifying it as a Limit State Quotation.
All trading centers in NMS stocks must maintain written policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to prevent the display of offers below the Lower Price Band and bids above the Upper Price Band for NMS stocks. Notwithstanding this requirement, the Processor shall display an offer below the Lower Price Band or a bid above the Upper Price Band, but with a flag that it is non-executable. Such bids or offers shall not be included in the National Best Bid or National Best Offer calculations.
Trading in an NMS stock immediately enters a Limit State if the National Best Offer (Bid) equals but does not cross the Lower (Upper) Price Band.
Trading for an NMS stock exits a Limit State if, within 15 seconds of entering the Limit State, all Limit State Quotations were executed or canceled in their entirety. If the market does not exit a Limit State within 15 seconds, then the Primary Listing Exchange would declare a five-minute trading pause pursuant to Section VII of the Plan, which would be applicable to all markets trading the security.
In addition, the Plan defines a Straddle State as when the National Best Bid (Offer) is below (above) the Lower (Upper) Price Band and the NMS stock is not in a Limit State. For example, assume the Lower Price Band for an NMS Stock is $9.50 and the Upper Price Band is $10.50, such NMS stock would be in a Straddle State if the National Best Bid were below $9.50, and therefore unexecutable, and the National Best Offer were above $9.50 (including a National Best Offer that could be above $10.50). If an NMS stock is in a Straddle State and trading in that stock deviates from normal trading characteristics, the Primary Listing Exchange may declare a trading pause for that NMS stock if such Trading Pause would support the Plan's goal to address extraordinary market volatility.
The Exchange proposes to adopt Chapter V, Section 3(d)(iii) to provide that the Exchange shall exclude the amount of time an NMS stock underlying a BX option is in a Limit State or Straddle State from the total amount of time in the trading day when calculating the percentage of the trading day Options Market Makers are required to quote.
Currently, the quoting requirements appear in Chapter VII, Sections 5 and 6, which generally require that, on a daily basis, a Market Maker must during regular market hours make markets consistent with the applicable quoting requirements specified in these rules, on a continuous basis in at least sixty percent (60%) of the series in options in which the Market Maker is registered. To satisfy this requirement with respect to quoting a series, a Market Maker must quote such series 90% of the trading day (as a percentage of the total number of minutes in such trading day) or such higher percentage as BX may announce in advance.
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The Exchange now proposes to subtract from the total number of minutes in a trading day the time period for an option when the underlying NMS stock was in a Limit State or Straddle State. The Exchange believes that this is appropriate for the same reasons discussed above, in light of the limited price discovery in the underlying stock and the direct relationship between an options price and the price of the underlying security. During a Limit State or Straddle State, the bid price or offer price of the underlying security will be unexecutable and the ability to hedge the purchase or sale of an option will be jeopardized. Recognizing that it may be impossible to hedge to offset the risk created by trading options, the Exchange expects that Options Market Makers will, as a result, modify their quoting behavior. The Exchange believes it is reasonable and appropriate to exclude this time period, which the Exchange believes will generally be limited.
The Exchange has considered waiving its bid/ask differential requirement (also known as quote spread parameters), but ultimately determined that those requirements should be maintained in order to promote liquidity and the operation of a fair and orderly market. Accordingly, even when the quoting obligation is not in effect, Options Market Makers who choose to quote must do so within the applicable bid-ask differentials. The Exchange believes that this should help ensure the quality of the quotes that are entered and preserves one of the obligations of being a market maker.
2. Statutory Basis
The Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 6 of the Act,
in general, and with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,
in particular, which requires that the rules of an exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, promote just and equitable principles of trade, foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, protect investors and the public interest, because the Exchange believes that excluding the Limit and Straddle State from an Options Market Maker's quoting obligation calculation should promote just and equitable principles of trade by recognizing the particular risk that arises for liquidity providers who cannot hedge. Whenever an NMS stock is in a Limit State or Straddle State, trading continues; however, there will not be a reliable price for a security to serve as a benchmark for the price of the option. Accordingly, the Exchange seeks to expressly remove these periods from consideration in order to enable Options Market Makers to provide the necessary liquidity and facilitate transactions on the Exchange.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The Exchange 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, as amended. Specifically, the proposal does not impose an intra-market burden on competition, because it will apply to all Participants subject to those obligations in the same manner. Nor will the proposal impose a burden on competition among the options exchanges, because, in addition to the vigorous competition for order flow among the options exchanges, the proposal addresses a regulatory situation common to all options exchanges. To the extent that market participants disagree with the particular approach taken by the Exchange herein, market participants can easily and readily operate on competing venues. The Exchange believes this proposal will not impose a burden on competition and will help provide liquidity during periods of extraordinary volatility in an NMS stock.
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 self-regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:
(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:
- 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 No. SR-BX-2013-022. 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 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 Start Printed Page 16306available publicly. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-BX-2013-022 and should be submitted on or before March 29, 2013.
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.
Kevin M. O'Neill,
[FR Doc. 2013-05866 Filed 3-13-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P