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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq MRX, LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change in Connection With a System Migration to Nasdaq INET Technology

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble May 30, 2017.

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 May 17, 2017, Nasdaq MRX, LLC (“MRX” or “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 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 amend various rules in connection with a system migration to Nasdaq INET technology.

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at www.ise.com, 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 this rule change is to amend certain rules to reflect the MRX technology migration to a Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq”) supported architecture. INET is the proprietary core technology utilized across Nasdaq's global markets and utilized on The NASDAQ Options Market LLC (“NOM”), NASDAQ PHLX LLC (“Phlx”) and NASDAQ BX, Inc. (“BX”) (collectively, “Nasdaq Exchanges”). The migration of MRX to the Nasdaq INET architecture would result in higher performance, scalability, and more robust architecture. With this system migration, the Exchange intends to adopt certain trading functionality currently utilized at Nasdaq Exchanges. The functionality being adopted is described in this filing.

The Exchange is also separately filing [3] a rule change to amend the Exchange's Opening Process. MRX will replace its current opening process at Rule 701 with Phlx's Opening Process.[4]

The Exchange intends to begin implementation of the proposed rule changes in Q3 2017. The migration will be on a symbol by symbol basis, and the Exchange will issue an alert to members in the form of an Options Trader Alert to provide notification of the symbols that will migrate and the relevant dates.

Generally

With the re-platform, the Exchange will now be built on the Nasdaq INET architecture, which allows certain trading system functionality to be performed in parallel. The Exchange believes that this architecture change will improve the member experience by reducing overall latency compared to the current MRX system because of the manner in which the system is segregated into component parts to handle processing.

Trading Halts

Cancellation of Quotes

The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 702 entitled “Trading Halts.” Specifically, the Exchange proposes to amend Rule 702(a)(2) to note that during a halt, the Exchange will maintain existing orders on the book, but not existing quotes prior to the halt, accept orders and quotes, and process cancels and modifications for quotes and orders, except that existing quotes are cancelled. Today, MRX maintains existing orders and quotes during a trading halt. With respect to cancels and modifications, this behavior will not change. MRX does not have a quote Start Printed Page 25828purge today, so this functionality will be changed with the adoption of this trading rule. The Exchange believes that purging quotes upon a halt will remove uncertainty for market participants.

The Exchange proposes to conform the treatment of quotes and orders on MRX to Phlx Rule 1047(f) in conjunction with the replatform of MRX. The Exchange desires to handle halts in a similar manner as Phlx.

Limit Up-Limit Down

The Exchange also proposes to add new MRX Rule 702(d) to replace rule text currently contained in MRX Rule 703A entitled “Trading During Limit Up-Limit Down States in Underlying Securities.” Proposed MRX Rule 702(d) is similar to language currently in Phlx Rule 1047(d), which provides for Exchange handling due to extraordinary market volatility. Currently MRX Rule 703A(a) and (b) provides modified order handling procedures when a security underlying an options class traded on the Exchange enters a Limit State or Straddle State under the Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility (the “Plan”).[5] Specifically, during a Limit State or Straddle State: (1) Incoming Market Orders are automatically rejected, and all unexecuted Market Orders pending in the system are cancelled, and (2) incoming Stop Orders (which become Market Orders if elected) are automatically rejected, and unexecuted Stop Orders pending in the system cannot be elected and will be held until the end of the Limit State or Straddle State. In addition, MRX Rule 703A(c) provides that when the security underlying an option class is in a Limit State or Straddle State, the maximum quotation spread requirements for market maker quotes contained in MRX Rule 803(b)(4) and the continuous quotation requirements contained in MRX Rule 804(e) shall be suspended.[6]

With the re-platform, the Exchange will adopt opening limitation, Market Order and Stop Order handling consistent with handling today on Phlx.[7] Specifically, proposed MRX Rule 702(d) will provide that during a Limit State and Straddle State in the Underlying NMS stock: (i) The Exchange will not open an affected option, (ii) provided the Exchange has opened an affected option for trading, the Exchange shall reject Market Orders, as defined in MRX Rule 715(a), and shall notify Members of the reason for such rejection, and (iii) provided the Exchange has opened an affected option for trading, the Exchange will elect Stop Orders if the condition is met, and, because they become Market Orders, shall cancel them back and notify Members of the reason for such rejection. The language in proposed MRX Rule 703(d)(iv) [sic] concerning the maximum quotation spread requirements for market maker quotes and the continuous quotation requirements suspensions are the same language currently contained in MRX Rule 703A(c).

These amendments differ in certain respects from the manner in which MRX operates today during a Limit State or Straddle State. The current MRX rule does not address the opening. The Exchange proposes to adopt rule text to provide for how the Exchange shall treat the Opening Process.[8] The opening in an option will not commence in the event that the underlying NMS stock is open, but has entered into a Limit State or Straddle State. If this occurs, the opening will only commence and complete if the underlying NMS stock stays out of a Limit or Straddle State. Accordingly, proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(i) [sic] will provide that the Exchange will not open an affected option. As a result, if an opening process is occurring, it will cease and then start the opening process from the beginning once the Limit State or Straddle State is no longer occurring.

In addition, MRX currently cancels Market Orders pending in the system upon initiation of a Limit or Straddle State. Under the proposal to adopt the Phlx rule and implementation of the Limit Up-Limit Down procedures, Market Orders pending in the system will continue to be processed regardless of the Limit or Straddle State. The Exchange believes this is a reasonable handling of Market Orders in the system since these orders are only pending in the system if they are exposed at the NBBO pursuant to Supplementary Material .02 to Rule 1901. If at the end of the exposure period the affected underlying is in a Limit or Straddle State, the Market Order will be cancelled with no execution occurring. If at the end of the exposure period the underlying is no longer in a Limit or Straddle State, the Market Order will be handled under the normal operation of the rules.

Lastly, MRX does not currently elect Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State. Under the proposal, and in-line with the Phlx implementation, Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State will be elected, if conditions for such election are met, however because they become Market Orders will be cancelled back to the Member with a reason for such rejection.

While the implementation of Market and Stop Order handling varies from MRX today, both the current and proposed Rule provide for protections from erroneous executions in a highly volatile period.[9] The Exchange believes consistency across the six options Start Printed Page 25829markets operated by Nasdaq, Inc. provides clarity for Members as to how their orders, as well as the opening process, will be handled in a Limit or Straddle State.

Auction Handling During a Trading Halt

The Exchange proposes to amend various rules to add detail to MRX rules to account for the impact of a trading halt on the Exchange's auction mechanisms. The Exchange proposes to memorialize within MRX Rule 723, entitled “Price Improvement Mechanism for Crossing Transactions” the manner in which a trading halt will impact an order entered into PIM once it is migrated to the INET architecture.

Today, if a trading halt is initiated after an order is entered into the Price Improvement Mechanism (“PIM”) on MRX, such auction is terminated and eligible interest is executed. The Exchange proposes to amend today's current behavior and instead terminate the auction and not execute eligible interest when a trading halt occurs. In the event of a trading halt, terminating the auction and not executing eligible interest will provide certainty to participants in regard to how their interest will be handled. Memorializing the manner in which the system will handle orders entered into PIM during a trading halt will provide transparency for the benefit of members and investors.

The Exchange proposes an amendment to MRX Rule 716, entitled “Block Trades” to memorialize that if a trading halt is initiated after an order is entered into the Block Order Mechanism, Facilitation Mechanism, or Solicited Order Mechanism, such auction will also be automatically terminated without execution. This is the current behavior today on MRX and will not be changing.

As discussed above, Phlx Rule 1047(c) provides that in the event the Exchange halts trading, all trading in the affected option shall be halted. This is interpreted to restrict executions after a halt unless there is a specific rule specifying that such trades should take place. The Exchange is proposing to add more specificity into the relevant rules. With respect to Block Order Mechanism, Facilitation Mechanism, or Solicited Order Mechanism, the Exchange notes that the current behavior is consistent with Phlx Rule 1047(c) generally, where all trading in the affected option shall be halted.[10] In the event of a trading halt, terminating these auction mechanisms and not executing eligible interest will provide certainty to participants in regard to how their interest will be handled. Memorializing the manner in which the system will handle orders during a trading halt will provide transparency for the benefit of members and investors.

Market Order Spread Protection

The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 711, entitled “Acceptance of Quotes and Orders” to adopt a new mandatory risk protection entitled Market Order Spread Protection. MRX does not have a similar feature today. This mandatory feature is currently offered on NOM to protect Market Orders from being executed in very wide markets.[11]

Pursuant to proposed MRX Rule 711(c), if the NBBO is wider than a preset threshold at the time a Market Order is received, the order will be rejected. For example, if the Market Order Spread Protection is set to $20.00, and a Market Order to buy is received while the NBBO is $1.00-$50.00, such Market Order will be rejected. The proposed feature would assist with the maintenance of fair and orderly markets by mitigating the risks associated with errors resulting in executions at prices that are away from the Best Bid or Offer and potentially erroneous. Further the proposal protects investors from potentially receiving executions away from the prevailing prices at any given time. The Exchange proposes this feature to avoid a series of improperly priced aggressive orders transacting in the Order Book.

Today, the NOM threshold is set at $5. MRX will initially set the threshold to $5. Similar to NOM, the Exchange will notify Members of the threshold with a notice, and, thereafter, Members will be notified of any subsequent changes to the threshold. NOM set the differential at $5 to match the bid/ask differential permitted for quotes on the Exchange.[12] MRX has a similar $5 differential.[13] Thus, the presence of a quote on the Exchange will ensure the NBBO is at least $5 wide. The Exchange believes the presence of a quote on the Exchange, or a bid/ask differential of the NBBO, which is no more than $5 wide affords Market Orders proper protection against erroneous execution and in the event a bid/ask differential is more than $5, then a Market Order is rejected. The threshold is appropriate because it seeks to capture improperly priced Market Orders and reject them to reduce the risk of, and to potentially prevent, the automatic execution of Market Orders at prices that may be considered erroneous. The Exchange's proposed threshold is a reasonable measure to ensure prices remain within the reasonable limits. This protection will bolster the normal resilience and market behavior that persistently produces robust reference prices. This feature should create a level of protection that prevents Market Orders from entering the Order Book outside of an acceptable range for the Market Order to execute.

Finally, the Market Order Spread Protection will be the same for all options traded on the Exchange, and is applicable to all Members that submit Market Orders.

Acceptable Trade Range

The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 714, entitled “Automatic Execution of Orders,” at MRX Rule 714(b)(1) to remove the current Price Level Protection rule and adopt Phlx's Acceptable Trade Range.[14] The Exchange is proposing to adopt similar functionality which is currently utilized on Phlx in connection with the replatform of MRX. Today, MRX places a limit on the number of price levels at which an incoming order or quote to sell (buy) will be executed automatically when there are no bids (offers) from other exchanges at any price for the options series. Orders and quotes are executed at each successive price level until the maximum number of price levels is reached, and any balance is either handled by the Primary Market Maker pursuant to Rule 803(c)(1) (in the case of Priority Customer Orders) or canceled (in the case of Professional Orders). The number of price levels, may be between one (1) and ten (10). The Exchange determines the number of price levels from time-to-time on a class-by-class basis.

Start Printed Page 25830

MRX proposes to replace the current Price Level Protection with Phlx's Acceptable Trade Range.[15] The proposed Acceptable Trade Range is a mechanism to prevent the system from experiencing dramatic price swings by creating a level of protection that prevents the market from moving beyond set thresholds. The thresholds consist of a reference price plus (minus) set dollar amounts based on the nature of the option and the premium of the option.

The system will calculate an Acceptable Trade Range to limit the range of prices at which an order or quote will be allowed to execute. To bolster the normal resilience and market behavior that persistently produces robust reference prices, MRX is proposing to create a level of protection that prevents the market from moving beyond set thresholds. The Acceptable Trade Range is calculated (upon receipt of a new order or quote) by taking the reference price, plus or minus a value to be determined by the Exchange (i.e., the reference price − (x) for sell orders/quotes and the reference price + (x) for buy orders).[16] Upon receipt of a new order, the reference price is the National Best Bid (“NBB”) for sell orders/quotes and the National Best Offer (“NBO”) for buy orders/quotes. If an order or quote reaches the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range without being fully executed, then any unexecuted balance will be cancelled. The proposed Acceptable Trade Range would work as follows: Prior to executing orders received by MRX, an Acceptable Trade Range is calculated to determine the range of prices at which orders/quotes may be executed.[17] When an order is initially received, the threshold is calculated by adding (for buy orders/quotes) or subtracting (for sell orders/quotes) a value,[18] as discussed below, to the National Best Offer for buy orders/quotes or the National Best Bid for sell orders/quotes to determine the range of prices that are valid for execution. A buy (sell) order or quote will be allowed to execute up (down) to and including the maximum (minimum) price within the Acceptable Trade Range.

For example, in a thinly traded option:

Away Exchange Quotes

ExchangeBid sizeBid priceOffer priceOffer size
NOM10$1.00$1.0510
NYSE Arca101.001.0510
NYSE MKT101.001.1010
BOX101.001.1510

MRX Price Levels

ExchangeBid sizeBid priceOffer priceOffer size
MRX orders10$1.00$1.0510
MRX orders1.1010
MRX orders1.4010
MRX orders5.0010

If MRX receives a routable market order to buy 80 contracts, the system will respond as described below:

—10 contracts will be executed at $1.05 against MRX

—10 contracts will be executed at $1.05 against NOM

—10 contracts will be executed at $1.05 against NYSE Arca.

—10 contracts will be executed at $1.10 against MRX

—10 contracts will be executed at $1.10 against NYSE MKT

—10 contracts will be executed at $1.15 against BOX

After these executions, there are no other known valid away exchange quotes. The National Best Bid/Offer (“NBBO”) is therefore comprised of the remaining interest on the MRX book, specifically 10 contracts at $1.40 and 10 contracts at $5.00. In the absence of an Acceptable Trade Range mechanism, the order would execute against the remaining interest at $1.40 and $5.00, resulting in potential harm to investors.

MRX will set the parameters of the mechanism at levels that will ensure that it is triggered quite infrequently. Importantly, the Acceptable Trade Range is neutral with respect to away markets, an order may route to other destinations to access liquidity priced within the Acceptable Trade Range provided the order is designated as routable.

The options premium will be the dominant factor in determining the Acceptable Trade Range. Generally, options with lower premiums tend to be more liquid and have tighter bid/ask spreads; options with higher premiums have wider spreads and less liquidity. Accordingly, a table consisting of several steps based on the premium of the option will be used to determine how far the market for a given option will be allowed to move. This table or tables would be listed on the Exchange Web site and any periodic updates to the table would be announced via an Options Trader Alert.

For example, looking at some SPY May 2013 Call options on May 1st of 2013:

Bid/Offer of SPY May 160 Call (at or near-the-money): $1.23 × $1.24 (several hundred contracts on bid and offer)

Bid/Offer of SPY May 105 Call (deep in-the-money): $54.10 × $54.26 (11 contracts on each side)

The deep in-the-money calls (May 105 calls) have a wider spread ($54.10 − $54.26 = $0.16) compared to a spread of $0.01 for the at-the-money calls (May Start Printed Page 25831160 calls). Therefore, it is appropriate to have different thresholds for the two options. For instance, it may make sense to have a $0.05 threshold for the at-the-money strikes (Premium < $2) and a $0.50 threshold for the deep in-the-money strikes (Premium > $10).

To consider another example, the May 2013 ORCL put options on May 1st of 2013:

Bid/Offer of ORCL 33 May Put (at or near-the-money): $0.33 × $0.34 (100 × 500)

Bid/Offer of ORCL 44 May Put (deep in-the-money): $10.40 × $10.55 (50 × 200)

Even though ORCL has a much lower share price than SPY, and is a different type of security (it is a common stock of a technology company whereas SPY is an ETF based on the S&P 500 Index), the pattern is the same. The option with the lower premium has a very narrow spread of $0.01 with significant size displayed whereas the higher premium option has a wide spread ($0.15) and less size displayed.

The Acceptable Trade Range settings will be tied to the option premium. However, other factors will be considered when determining the exact settings. For example, acceptable ranges may change if market-wide volatility is as high as it was during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, or if overall liquidity is low based on historical trends. These different market conditions may present the need to adjust the threshold amounts from time to time to ensure a well-functioning market. Without adjustments, the market may become too constrained or conversely, prone to wide price swings. As stated above, the Exchange would publish the Acceptable Trade Range table or tables on the Exchange Web site. The Exchange does not foresee updating the table(s) often or intraday, although the exchange may determine to do so in extreme circumstances. The Exchange will provide sufficient advanced notice of changes to the Acceptable Trade Range table, generally the prior day, to its membership via an Exchange alert.

The Acceptable Trade Range settings would generally be the same across all options traded on MRX, although MRX proposes to maintain flexibility to set them separately based on characteristics of the underlying security. For instance, Google is a stock with a high share price ($824.57 closing price on April 30, 2013). Google options therefore may require special settings due to the risk involved in actively quoting options on such a high-priced stock. Option spreads on Google are wider and the size available at the best bid and offer is smaller. Google could potentially need a wider threshold setting compared to other lower-priced stocks. There are other options that fit into this category (e.g. AAPL) which makes it necessary to have threshold settings that have flexibility based on the underlying security. Additionally, it is generally observed that options subject to the Penny Pilot program quote with tighter spreads than options not subject to the Penny Pilot. MRX will set Acceptable Trade Ranges for three categories of options: (1) Penny Pilot Options trading in one cent increments for options trading at less than $3.00 and increments of five cents for options trading at $3.00 or more, (2) Penny Pilot Options trading in one-cent increments for all prices, and (3) Non-Penny Pilot Options.

The Phlx rule contains language that references a posting period.[19] Specifically, the Phlx Rule provides if an order/quote reaches the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range (the “Threshold Price”) without being fully executed, it will be posted at the Threshold Price for a brief period, not to exceed one second (“Posting Period”), to allow more liquidity to be collected, unless a Quote Exhaust has occurred, in which case the Quote Exhaust process in Phlx Rule 1082(a)(ii)(B)(3) will ensue, triggering a new Reference Price.[20] The Exchange will not post interest that exceeds the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range, rather the interest will be cancelled. Only if the order limit does not exceed the Acceptable Trade Range will it post on the Exchange, if not otherwise executed. Further, the Phlx rule provides for the re-pricing of that order or quote and calculation of a new Acceptable Trade Range. Consistent with the current treatment of orders and quotes under MRX rules, the Exchange is not adopting the posting period. Unlike Phlx, MRX does not offer a general continuous re-pricing mechanism, and does not consider iterations in its current functionality.[21] MRX would cancel rather than reprice orders which exceed the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range. Orders which do not exceed the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range will post to the order book and will reside on the order book at such price until they are either executed in full or cancelled by the Member. Additionally, resting orders do not re-price on the order book as they do today on Phlx. For these reasons, the unexecuted balance which exceeds the outer limit of the Acceptable Trade Range will be cancelled, rather than posted to the order book.

PMM Order Handling and Opening Obligations

Today, PMMs are responsible for handling Priority Customer orders that are not automatically executed pursuant to MRX Rule 714(b)(1), i.e., the Price Level Protection, and to initiate the opening rotation in each series pursuant to MRX Rule 701. This responsibility is described in each of those rules, as well as in MRX Rule 803(c), which provides that:

In addition to the obligations contained in this Rule for market makers generally, for options classes to which a market maker is the appointed Primary Market Maker, it shall have the responsibility to: (1) As soon as practical, address Priority Customer Orders that are not automatically executed pursuant to Rule 714(b)(1) in a manner consistent with its obligations under paragraph (b) of this Rule by either (i) executing all or a portion of the order at a price that at least matches the NBBO and that improves upon the Exchange's best bid (in the case of a sell order) or the Exchange's best offer (in the case of a buy order); or (ii) releasing all or a portion of the order for execution against bids and offers on the Exchange. (2) Initiate trading in each series pursuant to Rule 701.

As described in more detail in the sections above, with the re-platform to Nasdaq technology, the Exchange is adopting Acceptable Trade Range and opening rotation functionality currently offered on NOM and Phlx, which do not contain similar requirements for the PMM. The Exchange therefore proposes to eliminate the PMM order handling and opening obligations in Rule 803(c).

The Exchange believes that the elimination of the PMM obligation to initiate the opening rotation in this rule is appropriate because the proposed Start Printed Page 25832opening process [22] is initiated by the receipt of an appropriate number of valid width Primary Market Maker or Competitive Market Maker quotes as outlined in proposed MRX Rule 701(c)(i) [sic]. Similarly, the Acceptable Trade Range functionality will continue to provide an important protection to members without imposing any Primary Market Maker obligations. Today, Phlx does not have similar roles for a Specialist on its market. In connection with the replatform, the Exchange will conform its rules with those of Phlx with respect to the manner in which it operates the Opening Process.

Back-Up PMM

The Exchange also proposes to amend MRX Supplementary Material .03 to Rule 803 to eliminate its Back-Up Primary Market Maker program. Today, any MRX Member that is approved to act in the capacity of a Primary Market Maker may voluntarily act as a “Back-Up Primary Market Maker” in options series in which it is quoting as a Competitive Market Maker. A Back-Up Primary Market Maker assumes all of the responsibilities and privileges of a Primary Market Maker under the Exchange's rules with respect to any series in which the appointed Primary Market Maker fails to have a quote in the system except that a Back-Up Primary Market Maker's quoting obligations are the same as the quoting obligations for Competitive Market Makers as described in MRX Rule 804(e)(2)(iii) and .02 of Supplementary Material to Rule 804.[23] If more than one Competitive Market Maker that has volunteered to be a Back-Up Primary Market Maker is quoting in an options series at the time that a Primary Market Maker ceases quoting, the Competitive Market Maker with the largest offer at the lowest price in the series at that time will be chosen to be the Back-Up Primary Market Maker. In the event of a tie based on price and size, the Competitive Market Maker with time priority will be automatically chosen. The Back-Up Primary Market Maker is automatically restored to Competitive Market Maker status when the appointed Primary Market Maker initiates quoting in the series. The obligations of a Primary Market Maker include the initiation of a trading rotation pursuant to MRX Rule 701, quoting and other obligations pursuant to MRX Rules 803 and 804, and financial requirements pursuant to MRX Rule 809. The Exchange is proposing to amend the obligations of a PMM only with regard to the initiation of a trading rotation pursuant to MRX Rule 701. The quoting and financial requirements rules shall remain the same.

With the re-platform, a Back-Up Primary Market Maker is no longer necessary since the order handling obligations present on MRX today are not going to be present in the new system. Furthermore, the proposed Opening Process,[24] obviates the importance of such a role. The Opening Process describes the entry of quotes by both a Primary Market Maker and a Competitive Market Maker, provided they are Valid Width Quotes.[25] The Opening Process further describes alternative methods to open the market if such quotes are not entered at the opening by either of these market makers.[26] The reliance on a market maker to initiate the opening process is no longer present within the proposed rule.[27]

Market Maker Speed Bump

The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 804, entitled “Market Maker Quotations” to establish default parameters for certain risk functionality. The Exchange offers a risk protection mechanism for market maker quotes that removes a member's quotes in an options class if a specified number of curtailment events occur during a set time period (“Market Maker Speed Bump”). In addition, the Exchange offers a market-wide risk protection that removes a market maker's quotes across all classes if a number of curtailment events occur (“Market-Wide Speed Bump”). MRX Rule 804(g) currently requires that market makers set curtailment parameters for both the Market Maker Speed Bump and the Market-Wide Speed Bump. Today, if a market maker does not set these parameters their quotes are rejected by the trading system for each of the speed bumps mentioned herein.

With the re-platform, the Exchange has determined to provide default curtailment parameters to assist market makers when they do not enter their own parameters into the system. The default parameters will be determined by the Exchange and announced to members. Rather than rejecting quotes, the default parameters would be instituted. The default parameters are important because market makers at MRX have quoting obligations as specified in MRX Rule 804. When a market maker's quotes are removed from the system, the time does not count toward the continuous quoting obligations. The Exchange believes that allowing for default settings would cause quotes not to be rejected and would assist market makers in meeting their quoting obligations because they would not have their quotes removed from the market. Today, Phlx indicates default parameters for its detection of loss of communication settings.[28]

Anti-Internalization

The Exchange proposes to amend the MRX Supplementary Material at .03 to Rule 804, entitled “Market Maker Quotations” to adopt an Anti-Internalization rule. Today, MRX's functionality prevents Immediate-or-Cancel (“IOC”) [29] orders entered by a market maker from trading with the market maker's own quote.[30] As implemented, if an IOC order entered by a market maker would trade with a quote entered by the same market maker, that order will instead be allocated to other interest at the same price, and the balance cancelled. The Exchange proposes to replace this self-trade protection functionality with Anti-Internalization functionality currently offered on Phlx.[31]

Today, Phlx provides anti-internalization (“AIQ”) functionality to Specialists and Registered Options Traders (“collectively market makers”). Quotes and orders entered by Phlx market makers using the same badge [32] are not executed against quotes and orders entered on the opposite side of the market using the same badge. This automatically prevents these quotes and orders from interacting with each other in the system. On Phlx, the system cancels the resting quote or order back to the entering party prior to execution. This functionality does not apply in any Start Printed Page 25833auction or with respect to complex transactions.

The Exchange proposes to adopt a similar rule that provides that quotes and orders entered by Market Makers using the same member identifier will not be executed against quotes and orders entered on the opposite side of the market by the same market maker using the same member identifier. In such a case, the system will cancel the resting quote or order back to the entering party prior to execution. This functionality shall not apply in any auction. AIQ is difficult to apply during auctions, and there is limited benefit in doing so. There is limited benefit because, generally speaking, auctions do not raise the same policy concerns for wash sales and ERISA [33] due to the semi-random manner in which trades are matched.

This functionality does not relieve or otherwise modify the duty of best execution owed to orders received from public customers. Market Makers generally do not display public customer orders in market making quotations, opting instead to enter public customer orders using separate identifiers. In the event that a Market Maker opts to include a public customer order within a market making quotation, the Market Maker must take appropriate steps to ensure that public customer orders that do not execute due to anti-internalization functionality ultimately receive the same execution price (or better) they would have originally obtained if execution of the order was not inhibited by the functionality.

This Anti-Internalization functionality can assist Market Makers in reducing trading costs from unwanted executions potentially resulting from the interaction of executable buy and sell trading interest from the same firm when performing the same market making function.

Minimum Execution Quantity Orders

The Exchange proposes to amend MRX Rule 715, entitled “Types of Orders” at 715(q) to remove minimum quantity orders. Today, the Exchange allows members to enter minimum quantity orders, which is an order type that is available for partial execution, but each partial execution must be for a specified number of contracts or greater. If the balance of the order after one or more partial executions is less than the minimum, such balance is treated as All-Or-None. Like All-Or-None orders, minimum quantity orders are contingency orders that are not displayed in the Exchange's best bid or offer. However, the Exchange disseminates to market participants an indication that a minimum quantity order has been entered. The Exchange has found that its members have not adopted this feature and therefore proposes to remove this functionality.[34] Furthermore, the Exchange proposes to remove two references to minimum quantity orders in other rules. Specifically, the Exchange proposes to remove references to minimum quantity orders in MRX Supplementary Material .02 to Rule 713, which notes that minimum quantity orders are contingency orders that have no priority on the book, and in MRX Supplementary Material .04 to Rule 717, which explains that non-marketable minimum quantity orders are deemed “exposed” one second following a broadcast notifying the market that such an order to buy or sell a specified number of contracts at a specified with a specified minimum quantity has been received in the options series.

Cancel and Replace Orders

The Exchange is proposing to amend Supplementary Material .02 to MRX Rule 715 to memorialize the manner in which the system will handle cancel and replace orders in connection with the Exchange's technology migration to INET.

By way of background with respect to cancel and replace orders, a Member has the option of either sending in a cancel order and then separately sending in a new order which serves as a replacement of the original order (two separate messages) or sending a single cancel and replace order in one message (“Cancel and Replace Order”). Sending in a cancel order and then separately sending in a new order will not retain the priority of the original order on the current MRX system and on the INET system.

Today, MRX does not treat all Cancel and Replace Orders as new orders. For example, a Cancel and Replace Order which reduced the size of the original order from 600 to 300 contracts would not be treated as a new order. A new order would be subject to price or other reasonability checks,[35] which this order today on MRX would not be subject to as a result of decreasing the size of the order. This order would continue to retain its time priority in the system. If a Cancel and Replace Order does not pass a price or other reasonability check, the order will cancel, but it will not be replaced with a new order.

The Exchange proposes to define a Cancel and Replace Order as a single message for the immediate cancellation of a previously received order and the replacement of that order with a new order. If the previously placed order is already partially filled or in its entirety,[36] the replacement order is automatically canceled or reduced by the number of contracts that were executed. Additionally, the replacement order will retain the priority of the cancelled order, if the order posts to the Order Book,[37] provided the price is not amended, size is not increased,[38] or in the case of Reserve Orders, size is not changed.[39] However, if the replacement portion of a Cancel and Replace Order does not satisfy the system's price or other reasonability checks the existing order will be cancelled and not replaced.[40]

The Exchange represents that conducting price or other reasonability checks for all Cancel and Replace Orders will validate orders against current market conditions prior to proceeding with the request to modify the order. The Exchange further believes that memorializing Cancel and Replace Order handling will add transparency to the Exchange's rules and reduce the potential for investor confusion. Other exchanges with a similar order type permit an order to retain priority if only Start Printed Page 25834the size of the order is decremented.[41] Accordingly, the Commission believes it is appropriate for the Exchange to define Cancel and Replace Order in the manner proposed.

All-Or-None Orders

The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 715(c) to provide that an All-Or-None Order may only be entered into the system with a time-in-force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel order in connection with the Exchange's technology migration to INET.

An All-Or-None Order is a limit or market order that is to be executed in its entirety or not at all. Today, an All-Or-None Order may be designated as a market or limit order with any time-in-force designation. The Exchange proposes to limit All-Or-None Orders to only be accepted with a time-in-force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel. An Immediate-Or-Cancel Order is a limit order that is to be executed in whole or in part upon receipt. Any portion not so executed is to be treated as cancelled.

The Exchange also proposes to amend Supplementary Material .02 to Rule 713 to make clear that All-Or-None Orders will only be accepted with a time-in-force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel and, therefore, would not persist in the Order Book. The Exchange also proposes to amend Supplementary Material .04 to Rule 717 to reserve this section as All-Or-None Orders [42] would not be subject to exposure because they would be cancelled if not executed in their entirety.[43]

Delay of Implementation

The Exchange proposes to delay the implementation of Directed Order [44] functionality on MRX. The Exchange proposes to continue to offer this functionality on the current platform. The Exchange however would propose not to launch the Directed Order functionality on MRX at the same time as proposed herein for the proposals to amend other trading functions. The Exchange would instead issue an alert which specifies a different date for this functionality to commence on MRX. This functionality will remain the same on the new platform.

The Exchange proposes to amend the rule text in Rule 811 (Directed Orders) to note that this functionality will not be available as of a certain date in the third quarter of 2017 to be announced in a notice. The Exchange will recommence this functionality on MRX within one year from the date of filing of this rule change to be announced in a separate notice.

The Exchange intends to begin implementation of the functionality for Directed Orders after Q3 2017. The migration will also be on a symbol by symbol basis, and the Exchange will issue an alert to members in the form of an Options Trader Alert to provide notification of the symbols that will migrate and the relevant dates. The Exchange will introduce Directed Orders on MRX within one year from the date of this filing, otherwise the Exchange will file a rule proposal with the Commission to remove these rules.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,[45] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[46] in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, 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 for the reasons stated below.

Trading Halts

The Exchange's proposal to amend MRX Rule 702 concerning Trading Halts to specifically note that during a halt the Exchange will maintain existing orders on the book but not existing quotes is consistent with the Act because it provides market participants with clarity as to the manner in which interest will be handled by the system. During a trading halt, the market may move and create risk to market participants with respect to resting interest. The Exchange believes that cancelling existing quotes protects investors and the public interest by removing potentially stale quotes during the halt process.

The Exchange's proposal to amend its rules on order handling during Limit up-Limit Down states and trading halts is consistent with the Act because it will harmonize the way the Exchange treats orders during a Limit State or Straddle State in the equity market, or a trading halt in the option, with how those orders are handled on other Nasdaq Exchanges. The proposed rule text should provide certainty about how options orders and trades will be handled during periods of extraordinary volatility in the underlying security. Specifically, under the proposal, market participants will be able to continue to trade options overlying securities that are in a Limit State or Straddle State, while addressing specific order types that are subject to added risks during such periods. The Exchange believes that the rejection of options Market Orders (including elected Stop Orders) should help to prevent executions that might occur at prices that have not been reliably formed, which should, in turn, protect, in particular, retail investors from executions of un-priced orders during times of significant volatility. The Exchange believes that harmonizing these rules will provide a better experience to members that trade on multiple markets operated by Nasdaq, Inc.

Cancellation of Quotes

The Exchange's proposal to amend MRX Rule 702 concerning Trading Halts to specifically note that during a halt the Exchange will maintain existing orders on the book but not existing quotes is consistent with the Act because it provides market participants with clarity as to the manner in which interest will be handled by the system. During a trading halt, the market may move and create risk to market participants with respect to resting interest. The Exchange believes that cancelling existing quotes protects investors and the public interest by removing potentially stale quotes during the halt process.

Limit Up-Limit Down

The Exchange's proposal to add new MRX Rule 702(d) to replace rule text currently contained in MRX Rule 703A entitled “Trading During Limit Up-Limit Down States in Underlying Securities” is consistent with the Act because the proposed rules provide for protections from erroneous executions in a highly volatile period. The proposed rule text in MRX Rule 702(d) is similar to language currently in Phlx Rule 1047(d), which provides for Exchange handling due to extraordinary market volatility. As noted within this proposal, the Exchange will adopt opening limitation, Market Order and Start Printed Page 25835Stop Order handling consistent with handling today on Phlx. The Exchange proposes to adopt rule text to provide for how the Exchange shall treat the opening rotation.[47] If an opening process is occurring, it will cease and then start the opening process from the beginning once the Limit State or Straddle State is no longer occurring. The Exchange believes that this treatment at the opening will protect investors and the public interest by halting trading to prevent unintended executions. Also, with this proposal, Market Orders pending in the system will continue to be processed regardless of the Limit or Straddle State. The Exchange believes that this treatment of Market Orders is consistent with the Act because these Market Orders are only pending in the system if they are exposed at the NBBO pursuant to Supplementary Material .02 to Rule 1901. If at the end of the exposure period the affected underlying is in a Limit or Straddle State, the Market Order will be cancelled with no trade occurring. If at the end of the exposure period, the affected underlying is no longer in a Limit or Straddle State, the Market Order will be handled pursuant to the normal operation of the rules.

Lastly, MRX does not currently elect Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State. Under the proposal, and in-line with the Phlx implementation, Stop Orders that are pending in the system during a Limit or Straddle State will be elected, if conditions for such election are met, and, because they become Market Orders, will be cancelled back to the Member with a reason for such rejection. The Exchange believes that this is consistent with the Act because it affords the appropriate protections to an elected Stop Order once it becomes a Market Order after election. The Exchange believes that this approach provides the market participant with the intended result.

Auction Handling During a Trading Halt

The Exchange's proposal to amend various rules to add detail to MRX rules to account for the impact of a trading halt on the Exchange's auction mechanisms is consistent with the Act for the reasons which follow. The Exchange's proposal to amend today's current behavior and instead terminate the PIM auction and not execute eligible interest when a trading halt occurs is consistent with the Act because during a trading halt, the market may move and create risk to market participants with respect to resting interest. The Exchange believes that terminating the PIM auction protects investors and the public interest by providing certainty to participants in regard to how their interest will be handled. Memorializing the manner in which the system will handle orders entered into PIM during a trading halt will provide transparency for the benefit of members and investors.

The Exchange's proposal to amend MRX Rule 716, entitled “Block Trades” to memorialize that if a trading halt is initiated after an order is entered into the Block Order Mechanism, Facilitation Mechanism, or Solicited Order Mechanism, such auction will also be automatically terminated without execution is consistent with the Act because in the event of a trading halt, terminating these auction mechanisms and not executing eligible interest will provide certainty to participants in regard to how their interest will be handled. Memorializing the manner in which the system will handle orders during a trading halt will provide transparency for the benefit of members and investors.

Market Order Spread Protection

The Exchange's proposal to amend MRX Rule 711 to adopt a mandatory risk protection entitled Market Order Spread Protection is consistent with the Act because it provides a protection for Market Orders that may encourage price continuity, which should, in turn, protect investors and the public interest by reducing executions occurring at dislocated prices. Further, the Exchange believes that this rule proposal will mitigate risks to market participants.

Acceptable Trade Range

The Exchange's proposal to amend MRX Rule 714 to remove the current Price Level Protection rule and adopt Phlx's Acceptable Trade Range is consistent with the Act and will 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 by making the Exchange's market more efficient, to the benefit of the investing public. Further, it should prevent the system from experiencing dramatic price swings by creating a level of protection that prevents the market from moving beyond set thresholds. The proposed rule change will reduce the negative impacts of sudden, unanticipated volatility in individual options, and serve to preserve an orderly market in a transparent and uniform manner, enhance the price-discovery process, increase overall market confidence, and promote fair and orderly markets and the protection of investors. Specifically, the Exchange believes that the NBBO is a fair representation of then-available prices and accordingly the proposal helps to avoid executions at prices that are significantly worse than the NBBO.

With respect to the posting information, which is described in the Phlx rule, but not contained in the proposed MRX rule, the Exchange believes that it is consistent with the Act to cancel unexecuted interest which is priced through an Acceptable Trade Range. Today, the Exchange does not have an iterative process wherein the Exchange will attempt to execute unexecuted balances for a period of time while that interest is automatically re-priced on the order book. Phlx has this type of functionality for Acceptable Trade Range, while the Exchange does not re-price interest on the order book. The Exchange transparently describes the cancellation of the interest within its rules.

PMM Order Handling and Opening Obligations

The Exchange's proposal to eliminate the PMMs order handling and opening obligations is consistent with the Act because PMMs will no longer have these obligations due to the introduction of Acceptable Trade Range and opening rotation functionality that is offered today on NOM and Phlx. Because the PMM will no longer have these obligations, the Exchange believes that it is appropriate to remove these rules.

Back-Up PMM

The Exchange's proposal to remove certain responsibilities of Primary Market Makers with respect to Back-Up Primary Market Maker assignments is consistent with the Act because the Exchange believes this function is not necessary. Today, in addition to market making obligations, the Primary Market Maker has certain order handling and other obligations as prescribed by Exchange Rules. Specifically, the obligations of a Primary Market Maker include the initiation of a trading rotation pursuant to MRX Rule 701, quoting and other obligations pursuant to MRX Rules 803 and 804, and financial requirements pursuant to MRX Rule 809. The Exchange is proposing to amend the obligations of a PMM only with regard to the initiation of a trading rotation pursuant to MRX Rule 701. The quoting and financial requirements rules shall remain the same. With the re-platform, a Back-Up Primary Market Maker is no longer necessary since the order handling obligations present on MRX today are not going to be present Start Printed Page 25836in the new system. Furthermore, the proposed Opening Process,[48] obviates the importance of such a role. The Opening Process further describes alternative methods to open the market if such quotes are not entered at the opening by either of these market makers.[49] The reliance on a market maker to initiate the opening process is no longer present within the proposed rule.[50]

In addition, the Exchange does not believe there is an interest among market participants for the back-up assignment.

Default Settings for Market Maker Risk Protections

The Exchange's proposal to amend MRX Rule 804(g) to introduce default curtailment settings for the Market Maker Speed Bump and Market-Wide Speed Bump is consistent with the Act as it will allow market makers to use Exchange set default values for these risk protections. Today, these market makers would have their quotes rejected if they fail to enter the required curtailment parameters. The default settings provide an alternative for market makers that have not entered their curtailment settings. Default settings will be announced to members who will have the opportunity to avoid the defaults by entering their own curtailment settings as required under the rule.

Anti-Internalization

The Exchange's proposal to amend the MRX Supplementary Material at .03 to Rule 804 to add Anti-Internalization is consistent with the Act because it is designed to assist market makers in reducing trading costs from unwanted executions potentially resulting from the interaction of executable buy and sell trading interest from the same firm when performing the same market making function.

Further, it is consistent with the Act to not apply this functionality in any auction because AIQ is difficult to apply during auctions, and there is limited benefit in doing so. There is limited benefit because, generally speaking, auctions do not raise the same policy concerns for wash sales and ERISA [51] due to the semi-random manner in which trades are matched.

Minimum Quantity Orders

The Exchange believes that removing minimum quantity orders would remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system by simplifying functionality available on the Exchange and reducing complexity of its order types.

Delay of Implementation

The Exchange believes that delaying the implementation of the Directed Order functionality on MRX is consistent with the Act because the Exchange desires to rollout this functionality at a later date to allow additional time to rebuild this technology on the new platform. The Exchange is staging the replatform to provide maximum benefit to its Members while also ensuring a successful rollout. This delay will provide the Exchange additional time to implement this functionality, which is not being amended. Members have been given adequate notice of the implementation dates. The Exchange will continue to provide notifications to Members to ensure clarity about the delay of implementation of this functionality. The Exchange will note the applicable dates within the rule text.

Cancel and Replace Orders

With respect to Cancel and Replace Orders, the Exchange believes that it is consistent with the Act to treat such orders as new orders which will be subject to price or other reasonability checks. The Exchange believes that conducting price or other reasonability checks for all Cancel and Replace Orders will protect investors and the public interest by validating the order against the current market conditions prior to proceeding with the request to modify the order. The manner in which MRX treats priority with respect to Cancel and Replace Orders is not changing. The MRX system currently assigns a new priority to the order when the price is changed, size is increased or the size of a reserve order is changed. Hence, the priority of the original order would continue to not be retained in the same manner with respect to the original order. The Exchange believes that allowing Cancel and Replace Orders, where the size is reduced, to retain the priority of the original order is consistent with the manner in which the Exchange treats partially executed orders, which similarly apply the priority of the executed portion of the order to the remaining portion of the order. Other exchanges today permit an order to retain priority if only the size was decremented.[52] The Exchange believes that permitting size to decrement and allowing the order to retain priority is consistent with the Act because the reduced change in size does not impact the terms of the order materially. The reduced size of the order would have priority on the Order Book with the original order.

The Exchange believes that it is consistent with the Act to treat Reserve Orders differently than other order types by giving these orders a new priority if size is amended in any way, including a decrement in size, with a Cancel and Replace Order because unlike other order types, Reserve Orders have both a displayed an [sic] non-displayed portion. The Exchange believes that any change to the original order of a Reserve Order should be treated as a new order because the size of a Reserve Order is specifically defined as part of that order type. A Member must specify the displayed and total volume, a portion of which is non-displayed, when a Reserve Order is entered into the system. Treating this order type as a new order if size is amended is consistent with the Act because the terms of the original order of a Reserve Order would modify the total size of the order, including potentially displayed and non-displayed portions which the Exchange believes should result in a new order as it changes a material portion of the order.

The Exchange believes that memorializing the Cancel and Replace Order handling will add transparency and specificity to the Rules thereby protecting investors and the public interest by reducing the potential for investor confusion.

All-Or-None Orders

The Exchange believes that the proposal with respect to All-Or-None Orders is appropriate and reasonable, because the time-in-force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel will offer Members certainty with respect to their order handling. With this proposal, an All-Or-None Order will either execute immediately or be cancelled back to the Member. All-Or-None Orders are contingency orders that have no priority on the Order Book. These orders would receive an execution after all other trading interest at the same price has been exhausted. This proposal would remove uncertainty with respect to the manner in which these orders would be handled in the Order Book by cancelling back an All-Or-None Order if it cannot be immediately executed in its entirety. Today, the NASDAQ Options Market, LLC (“NOM”) only permits All-Or-None Orders to be submitted with a time-in-Start Printed Page 25837force designation of Immediate-Or-Cancel.[53]

The Exchange notes that Members are aware of the Exchange's efforts to replatform to the INET technology. Members have been involved in testing the system and providing feedback to the Exchange throughout this migration process. Members were provided notice of this proposed change to the system. The Exchange intends to make clear the implementation of this functionality within its Rulebook.

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. As explained above, the Exchange is re-platforming it's trading system onto the Nasdaq INET architecture, and is making certain other changes to its trading functionality in connection with this migration. A majority of the functionality that is being added with the proposed rule change already exists on one or more Nasdaq Exchanges. As a result, the Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impact the intense competition that exists in the options market. In fact, the Exchange believes that adopting this functionality on MRX will allow the Exchange to more effectively compete for order flow with other options markets.

The Exchange does not believe conducting price or other reasonability checks for all Cancel and Replace Orders imposes an undue burden on competition because all Cancel and Replace Orders will uniformly be subject to this additional protection based on the current market conditions. Permitting all market participants to reduce their exposure without penalty does not impose an undue burden [sic] competition, rather it promotes competition by allowing participants the ability to change their orders in a changing market, provided the order was not already filled. The Exchange believes that not permitting Reserve Orders to retain priority if size is amended does not create an undue burden on competition because all Members will be treated in a uniform manner with respect to Cancel and Replace Order handling.

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change to All-or-None Orders will impact the intense competition that exists in the options market because the All-Or-None Order type, as proposed, will continue to offer Members a competitive alternative on MRX for submitting orders for execution.

Delaying the implementation of the Directed Order functionality will allow additional time to rebuild this technology on the new platform and provide maximum benefit to Members for a successful rollout. No Member will be able to utilize the Directed Order functionality with the delay. Members have been given adequate notice of the implementation dates.

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

Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days (i) as the Commission may designate 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:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • 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-MRX-2017-02. 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-MRX-2017-02 and should be submitted on or before June 26, 2017.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[54]

Eduardo A. Aleman,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See SR-MRX-2017-01 (not yet published).

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4.  See Phlx Rule 1017. See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79274 (November 9, 2016), 81 FR 80694 (November 16, 2016) (SR-Phlx-2017-79) (notice of Filing of Partial Amendment No. 2 and Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Partial Amendment No. 2, to Amend PHLX Rule 1017, Openings in Options).

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5.  Unless otherwise specified, capitalized terms used in this rule filing are based on the defined terms of 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 (Section V(A) of the Plan). 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 (Section VI(A) of the Plan). 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 (Section VI(A)(3) of the Plan). 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 (Section VI(B)(1) of the Plan. 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. The primary listing market would declare a Trading Pause in an NMS stock; upon notification by the primary listing market, the Processor would disseminate this information to the public. No trades in that NMS stock could occur during the trading pause, but all bids and offers may be displayed (Section VII(A) of the Plan). 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.

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6.  The time periods associated with Limit States and Straddle States are not considered by the Exchange when evaluating whether a market maker complied with the continuous quotation requirements contained in Rule 804(e).

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7.  See proposed MRX Rule 702(d)(ii) and (iii).

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8.  See note 3 above.

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9.  The Exchange is introducing a Phlx protection, Acceptable Trade Range, into MRX Rules as discussed within this rule change.

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10.  See Phlx Rule 1047(c).

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11.  See NOM Rules at Chapter VI, Section 6(c). NOM's current rule states, “System Orders that are Market Orders will be rejected if the best of the NBBO and the internal market BBO (the “Reference BBO”) is wider than a preset threshold at the time the order is received by the System.” NOM has two order types, Price-Improving and Post-Only Orders, which result in non-displayed pricing that may cause the internal market BBO to be better than the NBBO. MRX does not have similar non-displayed order types and therefore the reference to the internal market BBO is not necessary.

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12.  See Chapter VII, Section 6(d)(ii) of NOM Rules which describes the bid/ask differentials. Options on equities (including Exchange-Traded Fund Shares), and on index options must be quoted with a difference not to exceed $5 between the bid and offer regardless of the price of the bid, including before and during the opening. However, respecting in-the-money series where the market for the underlying security is wider than $5, the bid/ask differential may be as wide as the quotation for the underlying security on the primary market. The Exchange may establish differences other than the above for one or more series or classes of options.

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13.  See MRX Rule 803(b)(4).

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14.  See Phlx Rule 1080(p).

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15.  The Exchange notes that the version of Acceptable Trade Range to be implemented on MRX will not include the posting period functionality available today on Phlx. The proposed rules reflect this change.

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16.  The Acceptable Trade Range settings are tied to the option premium.

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17.  The Acceptable Trade Range will not be available for All-Or-None orders. Today, MRX's Price Level Protection rule is not available for All-Or-None orders. The Exchange has determined that it would be difficult, from a technical standpoint, to apply this feature to those orders because their particular contingency makes it difficult to automate their handling.

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18.  The value that is to be added to/subtracted from the reference price will be set by MRX and posted on its Web site.

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19.  See Phlx Rule 1080(p)(1)(B).

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20.  The Quote Exhaust process occurs when Phlx's disseminated market at a particular price level includes a quote, and such market is exhausted by an inbound contra-side quote or order, and following such exhaustion, contracts remain to be executed from such quote or order through the initial execution price.

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21.  With respect to trade-throughs and locked and crossed markets, a Phlx order will not be executed at a price that trades through another market or is displayed at a price that would lock or cross another market. If, at the time of entry, an order that the entering party has elected not to make eligible for routing would cause a locked or crossed market violation or would cause a trade-through violation, it will be re-priced to the current national best offer (for bids) or the current national best bid (for offers) and displayed at one minimum price variance above (for offers) or below (for bids) the national best price. See Phlx Rule 1080(m)(iv)(A). In the instance that the system automatically reprices an order or quote, the system would assign the orders or quote a new timestamp and the order or quote will be reprioritized within the Order Book in accordance with the priority rules in Phlx Rule 1014(g).

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22.  See note 3 above.

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23.  The Exchange notes that the current rule text for Back-up Primary Market Maker on MRX does not indicate that quoting obligations for Back-up Primary Market Makers are the same as for Competitive Market Makers. This, however, has been the Exchanges practice, and the practice of its affiliated exchanges, including, the Nasdaq ISE, LLC. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 76936 (January 20, 2016), 81 FR 4347 (January 26, 2016) (SR-ISE-2016-02).

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24.  See note 3 above.

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25.  A Valid Width Quote is a two-sided electronic quotation submitted by a Market Maker that consists of a bid/ask differential that is compliant with MRX proposed Rule 803(b)(4). See note 3 above.

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26.  See note 3 above.

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28.  Phlx Rule 1019(c).

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29.  An IOC order is a limit order that is to be executed in whole or in part upon receipt. Any portion not so executed is to be treated as cancelled. See Rule 715(b)(3).

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30.  This functionality is not memorialized in MRX's rules.

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31.  Phlx Rule 1080(p)(2).

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32.  A badge is the same as a market participant identifier (“MPID”).

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33.  AIQ also is designed to assist market participants in complying with certain rules and regulations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) that preclude and/or limit managing broker-dealers of such accounts from trading as principal with orders generated for those accounts. It can also assist Market Makers in reducing trading costs from unwanted executions potentially resulting from the interaction of executable buy and sell trading interest from the same firm when performing the same market making function.

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34.  This functionality is not currently being utilized by any member on MRX.

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35.  Price or other reasonability checks consider the current market at the time of the Cancel and Replace Order.

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36.  For example, in both the current MRX system and INET, the original order is automatically canceled or reduced by the number of contracts that were executed depending on the volume of the original order that was filled.

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37.  During an exposure period a Cancel and Replace Order will retain priority if the order posts to the Order Book, provided price is not changed, size is not increased or, for a Reserve Order, size is not changed.

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38.  Decrementing the volume will not result in a change in priority, as is the case today with MRX.

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39.  A Reserve Order is a limit order that contains both a displayed portion and a non-displayed portion. See MRX Rule 715(g).

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40.  The Exchange notes that if the replacement portion of a Cancel and Replace order does not satisfy the system's price or other reasonability checks, the existing order shall be cancelled and not replaced. The price reasonability checks include: (i) MRX Rule 710; (ii) MRX Rule 711(c); and (iii) MRX Rule 714(b)(2). The Exchange notes that other than these price reasonability checks, the Exchange may cancel an order because it does not satisfy a format or other requirement specified in the Exchange's s rules and specifications.

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41.  See Phlx Rule 1080(b)(i)(A).

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42.  This section is also being reserved because the Exchange is eliminating Minimum Quantity Orders.

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43.  The Exchange notes that Rule 716(e), Solicited Order Mechanism, is not being amended. The proposed rule change does not impact the manner in which the Solicited Order Mechanism operates.

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44.  MRX currently operates a Directed Order system in which Electronic Access Members (“EAMs”) can send an order to a DMM for possible price improvement. If a DMM accepts Directed Orders generally, that DMM must accept all Directed Orders from all EAMs. Once such a DMM receives a Directed Order, it either (i) must enter the order into the Exchange's PIM auction and guarantee its execution at a price better than the MRX best bid or offer (“MRX BBO”) by at least a penny and equal to or better than the NBBO or (ii) must release the order into the Exchange's limit order book, in which case there are certain restrictions on the DMM interacting with the order. See MRX Rule 811.

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47.  See note 3 above.

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48.  See note 3 above.

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51.  See note 34 above.

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52.  See NASDAQ PHLX, LLC Rule 1080(b)(i)(A).

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53.  See NOM Rules, Chapter VI, Section 1(g)(2).

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[FR Doc. 2017-11509 Filed 6-2-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P