June 26, 2014.
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 June, 25, 2014, BOX Options Exchange LLC (the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule from interested persons.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
The Exchange proposes to amend interpretive material to Rule 5050 (Series of Options Contracts Open for Trading) and Rule 6090 (Terms of Index Options Contracts) to introduce finer strike price intervals for standard expiration contracts in option classes that also have short term options listed on them (“related non-short term options”). The text of the proposed rule change is available from the principal office of the Exchange, at the Commission's Public Reference Room and also on the Exchange's Internet Web site at http://boxexchange.com.
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 self-regulatory organization 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 self-regulatory organization 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
The Exchange proposes to amend interpretive material to Rule 5050 and Rule 6090 to introduce finer strike price intervals for related non-short term options. In particular, the Exchange proposes to amend its rules to permit the listing of related non-short term options during the month prior to expiration in the same strike price intervals as allowed for short term option series. This is a competitive filing that is based on a proposal recently submitted by the International Securities Exchange, LLC (“ISE”).
Under the Exchange's current rules, the Exchange may list options in the Short Term Option (“STO” or “weekly”) Program in up to fifty option classes,
including up to thirty index option classes,
in addition to option classes that are selected by other securities exchanges that employ a similar program under their respective rules. For each of these option classes, the Exchange may list five short term option expiration dates at any given time, not counting monthly or quarterly expirations.
Specifically, on any Thursday or Friday that is a business day, the Exchange may list short term option series in designated option classes that expire at the close of business on each of the next five Fridays that are business days and are not Fridays in which monthly or quarterly options expire.
These short term option series, which can be several weeks or more from expiration, may be listed in strike price intervals of $0.50, $1, or $2.50, with the finer strike price intervals being offered for lower priced securities, and for options that trade in the Exchange's dollar strike program.
More specifically, the Exchange may list short term options in $0.50 intervals for strike prices less than $75, or for option classes that trade in one dollar increments in the related non-short term option, $1 intervals for strike prices that are between $75 and $150, and $2.50 intervals for strike prices above $150.
The Exchange may also list standard expiration contracts, which are listed in accordance with the regular monthly expiration cycle. These standard expiration contracts must be listed in wider strike price intervals of $2.50, $5, or $10,
though the Exchange also operates strike price programs, such as the dollar strike program mentioned above,
that allow the Exchange to list a limited number of option classes in finer strike price intervals. In general, the Exchange must list standard expiration contracts in $2.50 intervals for strike prices of $25 or less, $5 intervals for strike prices greater than $25, and $10 intervals for strike prices greater than $200.
During the week prior to expiration only, the Exchange is permitted to list related non-short term option contracts in the narrower strike price intervals available for short term option series.
Since this exception to the standard strike price intervals is available only during the week prior to expiration, however, standard expiration contracts regularly trade at significantly wider intervals than their weekly counterparts, as illustrated below.
For example, assume ABC is trading at $56.54 and the monthly expiration contract is three weeks to expiration. Assume also that the Exchange has listed all available short term option expirations and thus has short term option series listed on ABC for weeks one, two, four, five, and six. Each of the Start Printed Page 37821five weekly ABC expiration dates can be listed with strike prices in $0.50 intervals, including, for example, the $56.50 at-the- money strike. Because the monthly expiration contract has three weeks to expiration, however, the near-the-money strikes must be listed in $5 intervals unless those options are eligible for one of the Exchange's other strike price programs. In this instance, that would mean that investors would be limited to choosing, for example, between the $55 and $60 strike prices instead of the $56.50 at-the-money strike available for short term options. This is the case even though contracts on the same option class that expire both several weeks before and several weeks after the monthly expiration are eligible for finer strike price intervals. Under the proposed rule change, the Exchange would be permitted to list the related non-short term option on ABC, which is less than a month to expiration, in the same strike price intervals as allowed for short term option series. Thus, the Exchange would be able to list, and investors would be able to trade, all expirations described above with the same uniform $0.50 strike price interval.
As proposed, the Exchange would be permitted to begin listing the monthly expiration contract in these narrower intervals at any time during the month prior to expiration, which begins on the first trading day after the prior month's expiration date, subject to the provisions of Rule 5050(c). For example, since the April 2014 monthly option expired on Saturday, April 19, the proposed rule change would allow the Exchange to list the May 2014 monthly option in short term option intervals starting Monday, April 21.
The Exchange believes that introducing consistent strike price intervals for short term options and related non-short term options during the month prior to expiration will benefit investors by giving them more flexibility to closely tailor their investment decisions. The Exchange also believes that the proposed rule change will provide the investing public and other market participants with additional opportunities to hedge their investments, thus allowing these investors to better manage their risk exposure.
2. Statutory Basis
The Exchange believes that the proposal is consistent with the requirements of Section 6(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),
in general, and Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,
in particular, 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, 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. Additionally, the Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the Section 6(b)(5) 
requirement that the rules of an exchange not be designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers. Allowing finer strike price intervals for related non-short term options will result in a continuing benefit to investors by giving them more flexibility to closely tailor their investment and hedging decisions.
As noted above, standard expiration options currently trade in wider intervals than their weekly counterparts, except during the week prior to expiration. This creates a situation where contracts on the same option class that expire both several weeks before and several weeks after the standard expiration are eligible to trade in strike price intervals that the standard expiration contract is not. When the Exchange originally filed to list related non-short term options in the same intervals as short term options in the same option class during the week prior to expiration,
the Exchange was limited to listing one short term option expiration date at a time. Thus, there was no inconsistency between standard expiration contracts, which traded in finer intervals in the week prior to expiration, and short term options, which were only listed on the week prior to expiration. The STO Program has since grown in response to customer demand, and the Exchange is now permitted to list up to five short term option expiration dates in addition to standard expiration options.
There is continuing strong customer demand to have the ability to execute hedging and trading strategies in the finer strike price intervals available in short term options, and the Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will increase market efficiency by harmonizing strike price intervals for contracts that are close to expiration, whether those contracts happen to be listed pursuant to weekly or monthly expiration cycles.
The Exchange notes that, in addition to listing standard expiration contracts in short term option intervals during the expiration week, it already operates several programs that allow for strike price intervals for standard expiration contracts that range from $0.50 to $2.50.
The Exchange believes that each of these programs has been successful but notes that limitations on the number of option classes that may be selected for each of these programs means that many standard expiration contracts must still be listed in wider intervals than their short term option counterparts. For example, the $0.50 strike price program, which offers the narrowest strike price interval, only permits the Exchange to designate up to 20 option classes to trade in $0.50 intervals in addition to option classes selected by other exchanges that employ a similar program.
Thus, the proposed rules are necessary to fill the gap between strike price intervals allowed for short term options and related non-short term options. The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change, like the other strike price programs currently offered by the Exchange, will benefit investors by giving them more flexibility to closely tailor their investment and hedging decisions.
With regard to the impact of this proposal on system capacity, the Exchange has analyzed its capacity and represents that it and the Options Price Reporting Authority (“OPRA”) have the necessary systems capacity to handle any potential additional traffic associated with this proposed rule change. The Exchange believes that its Participants will not have a capacity issue as a result of this proposal. The Exchange also represents that it does not believe this expansion will cause fragmentation of liquidity.
As explained above, this proposal will afford significant benefits to market participants, and the market in general, in terms of significantly greater flexibility and increases in efficient trading and hedging options. It will also allow the Exchange to compete on equal footing with STO Programs adopted by other options exchanges, and in particular ISE, which has recently adopted substantially similar rules to those proposed here.Start Printed Page 37822
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. In this regard and as indicated above, the Exchange notes that the rule change is being proposed as a competitive response to a filing submitted by ISE.
The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is necessary to permit fair competition among the options exchanges with respect to STO Programs. The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will result in additional investment options and opportunities to achieve the investment objectives of market participants seeking efficient trading and hedging vehicles, to the benefit of investors, market participants, and the marketplace in general. Specifically, the Exchange believes that investors will benefit from the availability of strike price intervals in standard expiration contracts that match the intervals currently permitted for short term options with a similar time to expiration.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others
The Exchange has neither solicited nor received comments on the proposed rule change.
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 for 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.
The Exchange has asked the Commission to waive the 30-day operative delay so that the proposal may become operative immediately upon filing. The Exchange stated that waiver of this requirement will permit fair competition among the options exchanges with respect to STO Programs. For this reason, the Commission believes that the proposed rule change presents no novel issues and that waiver of the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest; and will allow the Exchange to remain competitive with other exchanges. Therefore, the Commission designates the proposed rule change to be 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. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or 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 Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.
All submissions should refer to File Number SR-BOX-2014-18. 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-BOX-2014-18 and should be submitted on or before July 23, 2014.
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.
Kevin M. O'Neill,
[FR Doc. 2014-15476 Filed 7-1-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P