December 22, 2014.
On September 5, 2014, NYSE Arca, Inc. (“Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 
and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,
a proposed rule change to list and trade shares (“Shares”) of the SPDR SSgA Global Managed Volatility ETF (“Fund”) under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on September 24, 2014.
On November 4, 2014, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,
the Commission designated a longer period within which to approve the proposed rule change, disapprove the proposed rule change, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove the proposed rule change.
The Commission has received no comment letters on the proposed rule change. This Order institutes proceedings under Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act 
to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change.
II. Description of the Proposal
The Exchange proposes to list and trade Shares of the Fund under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600, which governs the listing and trading of Managed Fund Shares. The Shares will be offered by SSgA Active ETF Trust (“Trust”), which is organized as a Massachusetts business trust and is registered with the Commission as an open-end management investment company.
SSgA Funds Management, Inc. will serve as the investment adviser to the Fund (“Adviser”). State Street Global Markets, LLC will be the principal underwriter and distributor of the Fund's Shares, and State Street Bank and Trust Company (“Custodian” or “Transfer Agent”) will serve as administrator, custodian, and transfer agent for the Fund. The Exchange represents that the Adviser is not a registered broker-dealer but is affiliated with a broker-dealer and has implemented a “fire wall” with respect to such broker-dealer regarding access to information concerning the composition of or changes to the Fund's portfolio.
The Exchange further represents that, in the event (a) the Adviser or any sub-Start Printed Page 78525adviser becomes registered as a broker-dealer or newly affiliated with a broker-dealer, or (b) any new adviser or sub-adviser is a registered broker-dealer or becomes affiliated with a broker-dealer, the Adviser or any new adviser or sub-adviser, as the case may be, will implement a fire wall with respect to its relevant personnel or broker-dealer affiliate, as applicable, regarding access to information concerning the composition of or changes to the portfolio, and will be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material, non-public information regarding the portfolio.
B. The Exchange's Description of the Fund
The statements made below are representations and assertions by the Exchange concerning the Fund.
1. Principal Investment Policies
According to the Exchange, the Fund will seek to provide competitive, long-term returns while maintaining low, long-term volatility relative to the broad global market. Under normal circumstances,
the Fund will invest all of its assets in the SSgA Global Managed Volatility Portfolio (“Portfolio”), a separate series of the SSgA Master Trust with an identical investment objective as the Fund. As a result, the Fund will invest indirectly through the Portfolio.
The Adviser will utilize a proprietary quantitative investment process to select a portfolio of exchange-listed and traded equity securities that the Adviser believes will exhibit low volatility and provide competitive, long-term returns relative to the broad global market.
The Portfolio will invest its assets in both U.S. and foreign investments. The Portfolio will generally invest at least 80% of its net assets in global equity securities and at least 30% of its net assets in global equity securities of issuers economically tied to countries other than the United States. The Portfolio will generally hold securities of issuers economically tied to at least three countries, including the United States. The Portfolio may purchase exchange-listed and traded common stocks and preferred securities of U.S. and foreign corporations.
The Adviser expects to favor securities with low exposure to market risk factors and low security-specific risk. The Adviser will consider market risk factors to include, among others, a security's size, momentum, value, liquidity, leverage, and growth. While the Adviser will attempt to manage the Fund's volatility exposure to stabilize performance, there can be no guarantee that the Fund will reach its target volatility. Additionally, the Adviser will implement risk constraints at the security, industry, size exposure, and sector levels. Through this quantitative process of security selection and portfolio diversification, the Adviser expects that the Portfolio will be subject to a low level of absolute risk (as defined by standard deviation of returns) and thus should exhibit low volatility over the long term.
The Fund is intended to be managed in a “master-feeder” structure, under which the Fund will invest substantially all of its assets in the Portfolio (i.e., a “master fund”), which is a separate 1940 Act-registered mutual fund that has an identical investment objective.
As a result, the Fund (i.e., the “feeder fund”) will have an indirect interest in all of the securities owned by the corresponding Portfolio. Because of this indirect interest, the Fund's investment returns should be the same as those of the Portfolio, adjusted for the expenses of the Fund. In extraordinary instances, the Fund reserves the right to make direct investments in securities.
The Adviser will manage the investments of the Portfolio. Under the master-feeder arrangement, and pursuant to the investment advisory agreement between the Adviser and the Trust, investment advisory fees charged at the Portfolio level will be deducted from the advisory fees charged at the Fund level. This arrangement avoids a “layering” of fees, i.e., the Fund's total annual operating expenses would be no higher as a result of investing in a master-feeder arrangement than they would be if the Fund pursued its investment objectives directly. In addition, the Fund may discontinue investing through the master-feeder arrangement and pursue its investment objectives directly if the Fund's Board of Trustees (“Board”) determines that doing so would be in the best interests of shareholders.
The exchange-listed and traded equity securities in which the Portfolio would be permitted to invest will be limited to: (1) equity securities that trade in markets that are members of the Intermarket Surveillance Group (“ISG”) or are parties to a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement (“CSSA”) with the Exchange; or (2) “Actively-Traded Securities” as defined Start Printed Page 78526in Regulation M (“Reg M”) under the Act that are traded on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges with last sale reporting.
The Portfolio and Fund do not intend to concentrate their investments in any particular industry. The Portfolio and Fund will look to the Global Industry Classification Standard (“GICS”) Level 3 (Industries) in making industry determinations.
The Portfolio may invest in exchange-traded preferred securities. Preferred securities pay fixed or adjustable rate dividends to investors and have “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company's assets.
2. Non-Principal Investment Policies
In certain situations or market conditions, in order to take temporary defensive positions, the Fund may (either directly or through the Portfolio) temporarily depart from its normal investment policies and strategies, provided that the alternative is consistent with the Fund's investment objective and is in the best interest of the Fund. For example, the Fund may hold a higher than normal proportion of its assets in cash in times of extreme market stress.
According to the Registration Statement, in addition to the principal investments described above, the Portfolio may invest its remaining net assets in other investments, as described below. The investment practices of the Portfolio are the same in all material respects to those of the Fund.
The Portfolio may invest in U.S. Government obligations. U.S. Government obligations are a type of bond. U.S. Government obligations include securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. Government, its agencies, or instrumentalities.
The Portfolio may purchase U.S. registered, dollar-denominated bonds of foreign corporations, governments, agencies, and supra-national entities.
The Portfolio may invest in restricted securities. Restricted securities are securities that are not registered under the Securities Act, but which can be offered and sold to “qualified institutional buyers” under Rule 144A under the Securities Act. When Rule 144A restricted securities present an attractive investment opportunity and meet other selection criteria, the Portfolio may make such investments depending on the market that exists for the particular security. The Board has delegated to the Adviser the responsibility for determining the liquidity of Rule 144A restricted securities that the Portfolio may invest in.
The Portfolio may conduct foreign currency transactions on a spot (i.e., cash) or forward basis (i.e., by entering into forward contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies).
The Portfolio may invest in exchange-traded products (“ETPs”), including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) registered under the 1940 Act; exchange traded commodity trusts; and exchange-traded notes.
In addition, the Portfolio may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including money market funds and exchange-traded closed-end funds, subject to applicable limitations under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act.
The Portfolio may invest up to 25% of its total assets in one or more ETPs that are qualified publicly traded partnerships (“QPTPs”) and whose principal activities are the buying and selling of commodities or options, futures, or forwards with respect to commodities.
A QPTP is an entity that is treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, subject to certain requirements. If such an ETP fails to qualify as a QPTP, the income generated from the Portfolio's investment in the ETP may not comply with certain income tests necessary for the Portfolio to qualify as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Portfolio may invest in exchange-traded shares of real estate investment trusts (“REITs”).
The Portfolio may invest in repurchase agreements with commercial banks, brokers, or dealers to generate income from its excess cash balances and to invest securities lending cash collateral. A repurchase agreement is an agreement under which a fund acquires Start Printed Page 78527a financial instrument (e.g., a security issued by the U.S. government or an agency thereof, a banker's acceptance, or a certificate of deposit) from a seller, subject to resale to the seller at an agreed upon price and date (normally, the next business day). A repurchase agreement may be considered a loan collateralized by securities. The resale price reflects an agreed upon interest rate effective for the period the instrument is held by a fund and is unrelated to the interest rate on the underlying instrument.
The Portfolio may enter into reverse repurchase agreements, which involve the sale of securities with an agreement to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon price, date, and interest payment and have the characteristics of borrowing. The securities purchased with the funds obtained from the agreement and securities collateralizing the agreement will have maturity dates no later than the repayment date. Generally, the effect of such transactions is that a fund can recover all or most of the cash invested in the portfolio securities involved during the term of the reverse repurchase agreement, while in many cases a fund is able to keep some of the interest income associated with those securities.
In addition to repurchase agreements, the Portfolio may invest in short-term instruments, including money market instruments, (including money market funds advised by the Adviser), cash, and cash equivalents, on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. Money market instruments are generally short-term investments that may include but are not limited to: (i) Shares of money market funds; (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies, or its instrumentalities (including government-sponsored enterprises); (iii) negotiable certificates of deposit, bankers' acceptances, fixed time deposits, and other obligations of U.S. and foreign banks (including foreign branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody's or “A-1” by Standard & Poor's, or if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Adviser; 
(v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that satisfy the rating requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; (vi) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of foreign banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of the Adviser, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks which may be purchased by the Portfolio; and (vii) variable rate demand notes.
3. Investment Restrictions
According to the Registration Statement, the Portfolio and the Fund will be classified as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act.
A non-diversified classification means that the Portfolio or Fund is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. This means that the Portfolio or Fund may invest a greater portion of its assets in the securities of a single issuer than a diversified fund. Although the Portfolio and Fund will be non-diversified for purposes of the 1940 Act, the Portfolio and Fund intend to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a “regulated investment company” for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
The Fund may hold up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid assets (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A securities deemed illiquid by the Adviser. The Fund will monitor its portfolio liquidity on an ongoing basis to determine whether, in light of current circumstances, an adequate level of liquidity is being maintained, and will consider taking appropriate steps in order to maintain adequate liquidity if, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, more than 15% of the Fund's net assets are held in illiquid assets. Illiquid assets include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets as determined in accordance with Commission staff guidance.
Neither the Fund nor the Portfolio will invest in options, futures contracts, or swaps agreements. The Fund's and Portfolio's investments will be consistent with its investment objective and will not be used to enhance leverage.
The Exchange represents that trading in the Shares will be subject to the existing trading surveillances, administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) on behalf of the Exchange, which are designed to detect violations of Exchange rules and applicable federal securities laws.
The Exchange represents that these procedures are adequate to properly monitor Exchange trading of the Shares in all trading sessions and to deter and detect violations of Exchange rules and federal securities laws applicable to trading on the Exchange.
The surveillances referred to above generally focus on detecting securities trading outside their normal patterns, which could be indicative of manipulative or other violative activity. When such situations are detected, surveillance analysis follows and investigations are opened, where appropriate, to review the behavior of all relevant parties for all relevant trading violations.
FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, will communicate as needed regarding trading in the Shares, ETPs, and certain exchange-traded securities underlying the Shares with other markets and other entities that are members of the ISG, and FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, may obtain trading information regarding trading in the Shares, ETPs, and certain exchange-traded securities underlying the Shares from such markets and other entities. In addition, the Exchange may obtain information regarding trading in the Shares, ETPs, and certain exchange-traded securities underlying the Shares from markets and other entities that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has in place a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement.
FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, is able to access, as needed, trade information for certain fixed income securities held by the Fund reported to FINRA's Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine.
In addition, the Exchange also has a general policy prohibiting the distribution of material, non-public information by its employees.
5. Information Sharing Procedures
In the proposal, the Exchange states that the Commission requires that, in designing a new derivative securities product, the self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) determine that it has adequate Start Printed Page 78528information sharing procedures to detect and deter potential trading abuses,
and the Exchange further states that in many, but not all, cases, this requirement is met through listing standards that require the securities underlying a new derivatives securities product to be listed on markets that are members of the ISG or with which the Exchange has a CSSA. For example, the generic listing standards for options on closed-end funds holding foreign stocks, options on foreign index ETFs, and foreign index options require information sharing agreements for the underlying index or portfolio securities.
Similarly, the listing standards for stock index warrants contain a specific limitation on the percentage of foreign country securities that are not traded on markets that are not subject to CSSAs.
However, the Exchange points out that the generic listing standards for ETFs based on foreign indexes in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(3) (Investment Company Units), and for closed-end funds holding foreign securities, do not include specific CSSA requirements.
Additionally, the Exchange argues that the American Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange have proposed, and the Commission has approved, the listing or trading pursuant to unlisted trading privileges of shares of many foreign-index-based ETFs that hold securities listed and traded on markets with which the ETF-listing exchange did not have CSSAs.
The Exchange believes that its ability to monitor trading in the Fund would not be impacted by the absence of CSSAs with, or ISG membership of, markets on which “Actively-Traded Securities” (as defined in Rule 101(c)(1) of Reg M) 
are listed or traded. The Exchange states that many established and reputable markets are not members of ISG.
The Exchange asserts that such markets have price transparency, regulatory surveillance, liquidity, and last-sale information, as well as numerous other regulatory requirements traditionally associated with national securities exchanges in the United States. However, the Exchange notes that, at times, local laws, such as privacy laws in certain European nations, preclude markets from becoming ISG members or would result in any CSSA entered into being severely limited with respect to the information that can be shared. The Exchange further notes that, while some exchanges in the European Union may not be ISG members, those exchanges have the obligation to share trading data with their national regulator, and these national regulators are parties to sharing agreements with each other. Therefore, while there may be instances where the exchanges in the European Union may not directly share trading data, the Exchange argues that regulators may share information with each other when necessary, to deter and detect market manipulation.
The Exchange further states that, as the global marketplace has evolved and become more interconnected, an issuer's securities may be traded on multiple markets. For example, thanks to harmonized European legislation, and, in particular, the Prospectus Directive of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID”),
issuers wishing to raise capital in the European Union may take advantage of “passporting” their prospectus, which allows an issuer to use one prospectus and raise capital across the European Economic Area (EEA).
The Exchange notes that one of the consequences of this single prospectus is that an issuer's securities can and often do trade across several markets in the EEA, some of which may be ISG members and others may not.
Additionally, MiFID, introduced in 2007, contains a transaction reporting requirement, under which various markets and trading firms are required to submit transaction reports to an “Approved Reporting Mechanism.” MiFID also makes it possible for any transferable security that has been admitted to trading on a regulated market of an “EU Member State” to be admitted to trading on other Member States' regulated markets or on any other trading venues. As a result, it is difficult to predict where the liquidity in any particular security will primarily Start Printed Page 78529reside. Moreover, the MiFID best execution requirement 
may require an executing broker to trade on markets that are not ISG members. The Exchange argues that these developments would make it challenging for the Fund to limit the trading of foreign securities on markets that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has a CSSA.
In addition, the Exchange believes that it is not necessary to its ability to detect and deter manipulation in Shares of the Fund for equity securities in which the Fund invests to be listed and traded on markets that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has a CSSA, provided that such equity securities are Actively-Traded Securities. As the Commission noted in adopting Reg M, Actively-Traded Securities are less likely to be manipulated because the costs of such manipulation is high, aberrations in price are more likely to be discovered and quickly corrected, and such securities are generally traded on markets with high levels of transparency and surveillance. For this reason, the Exchange asserts that Actively-Traded Securities were excepted from the prophylactic provisions of Rule 101 of Reg M 
and, thus, would not be subject to the restrictions imposed upon distribution participants or issuers and selling security holders during the restricted period, as those terms are defined in Reg M.
The Exchange argues that, as the Commission recognized in adopting Reg M, the detection of manipulation of Actively-Traded Securities is aided substantially by the widespread coverage by analysts, news outlets, investors, and other market participants around the world of these securities.
This close scrutiny and increased transparency of the secondary markets means that unusual market activity is likely to be observed and quickly corrected.
Further, that Exchange argues that, as also noted by the Commission in adopting Reg M, because the costs associated with manipulating an Actively-Traded Security will be higher, the likelihood of manipulation of Actively-Traded Securities is low. This potential for improper activity in an Actively-Traded Security to be used to manipulate, or otherwise impact, trading in the Shares of the Fund is further diluted by the fact that a single Actively-Traded Security represents only part of the value of the Fund. This limited impact is guaranteed by diversification requirements applicable to the Fund in the Exchange's listing rules and the Internal Revenue Code, which requires certain diversification to qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”).
The Exchange also notes that other provisions of the securities laws encourage disparate treatment for active, large capitalization securities. In its no action letter 
to FINRA in 2012 regarding Rule 15c3-1 under the Act (“Net Capital Rule”),
the Commission expanded the universe of foreign equity securities that were deemed to have a ready market.
Similar to the exemptions afforded Actively-Traded Securities, the beneficial attributes of liquidity and size were once again acknowledged and formed the basis for the Commission's interpretation of this fundamental customer protection provision of the securities laws.
The Exchange asserts that permitting the Fund to invest in Actively-Traded Securities, even if they trade on markets that are not member of ISG, will allow investors to benefit from the Fund's portfolio managers' expertise as well as potentially reducing costs to shareholders. In addition, the Exchange asserts that investing directly in Actively-Traded Securities would, in many cases, be a less expensive alternative than other investments used by the Fund's portfolio managers when they are restricted to trading in markets that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has a CSSA. For example, investing in international index ETFs 
is a common way fund managers provide investors with exposure to regions whose markets are not members of ISG. These international index ETFs can be a less efficient and less targeted proxy for direct investment in foreign security components of those indexes. The fees imbedded in such ETFs would be borne directly by a fund and indirectly by investors in shares of a fund. Thus, the Exchange concludes that the ability of the Fund to directly invest in Actively-Traded Securities listed or traded on markets that may not be members of ISG or with which the Exchange has a CSSA would be a less expensive alternative for the Fund's portfolio managers, which lower costs to the benefit of shareholders of the Fund.
Start Printed Page 78530
III. Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove SR-NYSEArca-2014-100 and Grounds for Disapproval Under Consideration
The Commission is instituting proceedings pursuant to Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act 
to determine whether the proposed rule change should be approved or disapproved. Institution of such proceedings is appropriate at this time in view of the legal and policy issues raised by the proposed rule change, as discussed below. Institution of proceedings does not indicate that the Commission has reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues involved. Rather, as described below, the Commission seeks and encourages interested persons to provide comments on the proposed rule change.
Pursuant to Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act,
the Commission is providing notice of the grounds for disapproval under consideration. The Commission is instituting proceedings to allow for additional analysis of the proposed rule change's consistency with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade,” and “to protect investors and the public interest.” 
As discussed above, as part of the Fund's principal investment strategy, the exchange-listed and traded equity securities in which the Portfolio would be permitted to invest would include “Actively-Traded Securities,” as defined in Reg M under the Act, that are traded on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges with last sale reporting.
The proposed rule change would permit the listing and trading of an actively managed ETF based on a portfolio of equity securities that may trade on exchanges or markets that are neither members of ISG nor parties to a CSSA with the Exchange, and the Commission believes that proceedings are appropriate to consider, among other matters, whether the Exchange would be able to obtain the information necessary to detect and deter market manipulation, illegal trading, and other abuses involving the new derivative securities product, including trading in the new derivative securities product and its underlying securities.
IV. Procedure: Request for Written Comments
The Commission requests that interested persons provide written submissions of their views, data, and arguments with respect to the issues identified above, as well as any other concerns they may have with the proposal. In particular, the Commission invites the written views of interested persons concerning whether the proposal is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) or any other provision of the Act, or the rules and regulations thereunder. Although there do not appear to be any issues relevant to approval or disapproval that would be facilitated by an oral presentation of views, data, and arguments, the Commission will consider, pursuant to Rule 19b-4, any request for an opportunity to make an oral presentation.
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments regarding whether the proposal should be approved or disapproved by January 20, 2015. Any person who wishes to file a rebuttal to any other person's submission must file that rebuttal by February 3, 2015.
The Commission asks that commenters address the sufficiency of the Exchange's statements in the proposal, in addition to any other comments they may wish to submit about the proposed rule change. In particular, the Commission seeks comment on the statements of the Exchange contained in the Notice,
including the statements made in connection with information sharing procedures with respect to certain non-U.S. equity security holdings, the Exchange's arguments regarding the applicability of the definition of “Actively-Traded Securities” under Reg M with respect to the securities in which an ETF may invest, and any other issues raised by the proposed rule change.
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 Numbers SR-NYSEArca-2014-100. 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 these filings 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-NYSEArca-2014-100 and should be submitted on or before January 20, 2015. Rebuttal comments should be submitted by February 3, 2015.
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.
Brent J. Fields,
[FR Doc. 2014-30440 Filed 12-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P