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Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to SPY Position Limits

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Start Preamble July 9, 2015.

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 July 8, 2015, 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 the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

The Exchange's [sic] proposes to extend for another twelve (12) month time period the pilot program to eliminate position limits for options on the SPDR® S&P 500® exchange-traded fund (“SPY ETF” or “SPY”),[3] which list and trade under the symbol SPY (“SPY Pilot Program”).

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at​, at the principal office of the Exchange, 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, 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 purpose of the proposed rule change is to amend the Supplementary Material at the end of Chapter III, Section 7 (Position Limits) to extend the current pilot which expires on July 12, 2015 for an additional twelve (12) month time period to July 12, 2016 (“Extended Pilot”). This filing does not propose any substantive changes to the SPY Pilot Program. In proposing to extend the SPY Pilot Program, the Exchange reaffirms its consideration of several factors that supported the original proposal of the SPY Pilot Program, including (1) the availability of economically equivalent products and their respective position limits; (2) the Start Printed Page 41518liquidity of the option and the underlying security; (3) the market capitalization of the underlying security and the related index; (4) the reporting of large positions and requirements surrounding margin; and (5) the potential for market on close volatility.

The Exchange submitted a report to the Commission on June 11, 2015, which report reflects, during the time period from May 2014 through May 2015, the trading of standardized SPY options with no position limits consistent with option exchange provisions.[4] The report was prepared in the manner specified in BX's prior rule filing extending the SPY Pilot Program.[5] The Exchange notes that it is unaware of any problems created by the SPY Pilot Program and does not foresee any as a result of the proposed extension. The proposed extension will allow the Exchange and the Commission additional time to further evaluate the pilot program and its effect on the market.

As with the original proposal to establish the SPY Pilot Program, the Exchange represents that a SPY Pilot Report will be submitted at least thirty (30) days before the end of the Extended Pilot and would analyze that period. The Pilot Report will detail the size and different types of strategies employed with respect to positions established as a result of the elimination of position limits in SPY. In addition, the report will note whether any problems resulted due to the no limit approach and any other information that may be useful in evaluating the effectiveness of the Extended Pilot. The Pilot Report will compare the impact of the SPY Pilot Program, if any, on the volumes of SPY options and the volatility in the price of the underlying SPY shares, particularly at expiration during the Extended Pilot. In preparing the report the Exchange will utilize various data elements such as volume and open interest. In addition the Exchange will make available to Commission staff data elements relating to the effectiveness of the SPY Pilot Program. Conditional on the findings in the SPY Pilot Report, the Exchange will file with the Commission a proposal to extend the pilot program, adopt the pilot program on a permanent basis or terminate the pilot. If the SPY Pilot Program is not extended or adopted on a permanent basis by the expiration of the Extended Pilot, the position limits for SPY options would revert to limits in effect prior to the commencement of the SPY Pilot Program.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [6] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [7] 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.

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change would be beneficial to market participants, including market makers, institutional investors and retail investors, by permitting them to establish greater positions when pursuing their investment goals and needs. The Exchange also believes that economically equivalent products should be treated in an equivalent manner so as to avoid regulatory arbitrage, especially with respect to position limits. Treating SPY and SPX options differently by virtue of imposing different position limits is inconsistent with the notion of promoting just and equitable principles of trade and removing impediments to perfect the mechanisms of a free and open market. At the same time, the Exchange believes that the elimination of position limits for SPY options would not increase market volatility or facilitate the ability to manipulate the market.

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

The proposed rule change does not impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. In this regard, the Exchange notes that the rule change is being proposed as a competitive response to similar filings that the Exchange expects to be filed by other options exchanges. The Exchange believes this proposed rule change is necessary to permit fair competition among the options exchanges and to establish uniform position limits for a multiply listed options class.

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

No written comments were either solicited or received.

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

Because the foregoing 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, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[8]

A proposed rule change filed pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6) under the Act [9] normally does not become operative for 30 days after the date of its filing. However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) [10] permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. 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 believes that waiver of the operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because it will permit the SPY Pilot Program to continue without interruption. The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. Therefore, the Commission hereby waives the operative delay and designates the proposed rule change operative upon filing.[11]

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 Start Printed Page 41519Commission 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:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-BX-2015-039. 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 (​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 available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-BX-2015-039, and should be submitted on or before August 5, 2015.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[12]

Brent J. Fields,


End Signature End Preamble


3.  “SPDR®,” “Standard & Poor's®,” “S&P®,” “S&P 500®,” and “Standard & Poor's 500” are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. The SPY ETF represents ownership in the SPDR S&P 500 Trust, a unit investment trust that generally corresponds to the price and yield performance of the SPDR S&P 500 Index.

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4.  The report is attached as Exhibit 3.

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5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 72143 (May 9, 2014), 79 FR 27963 (May 15, 2014) (SR-BX-2014-025).

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8.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). As required under Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii), the Exchange provided the Commission with written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and the text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission.

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10.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).

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11.  For purposes only of waiving the 30-day operative delay, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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[FR Doc. 2015-17300 Filed 7-14-15; 8:45 am]