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Notice

Program for Allocation of Regulatory Responsibilities Pursuant to Rule17d-2; Notice of Filing and Order Approving and Declaring Effective an Amended Plan for the Allocation of Regulatory Responsibilities Among the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, and MIAX PEARL, LLC

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 35682 July 24, 2018.

Notice is hereby given that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) has issued an Order, pursuant to Section 17(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] approving and declaring effective an amendment to the plan for allocating regulatory responsibility (“Plan”) filed on June 28, 2018, pursuant to Rule 17d-2 of the Act,[2] by the Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC (“MIAX”), MIAX PEARL, LLC (“MIAX PEARL”), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) (collectively, “Participating Organizations” or “parties”). This agreement amends and restates the agreement entered into between FINRA, MIAX, and MIAX PEARL on June 27, 2018, entitled “Agreement between Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC and MIAX PEARL, LLC Pursuant to Rule 17d-2 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,” and any subsequent amendments thereafter.

I. Introduction

Section 19(g)(1) of the Act,[3] among other things, requires every self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) registered as either a national securities exchange or national securities association to examine for, and enforce compliance by, its members and persons associated with its members with the Act, the rules and regulations thereunder, and the SRO's own rules, unless the SRO is relieved of this responsibility pursuant to Section 17(d) [4] or Section 19(g)(2) [5] of the Act. Without this relief, the statutory obligation of each individual SRO could result in a pattern of multiple examinations of broker-dealers that maintain memberships in more than one SRO (“common members”). Such regulatory duplication would add unnecessary expenses for common members and their SROs.

Section 17(d)(1) of the Act [6] was intended, in part, to eliminate unnecessary multiple examinations and regulatory duplication.[7] With respect to a common member, Section 17(d)(1) authorizes the Commission, by rule or order, to relieve an SRO of the responsibility to receive regulatory reports, to examine for and enforce compliance with applicable statutes, rules, and regulations, or to perform other specified regulatory functions.

To implement Section 17(d)(1), the Commission adopted two rules: Rule 17d-1 and Rule 17d-2 under the Act.[8] Rule 17d-1 authorizes the Commission to name a single SRO as the designated examining authority (“DEA”) to examine common members for compliance with the financial responsibility requirements imposed by the Act, or by Commission or SRO rules.[9] When an SRO has been named as a common member's DEA, all other SROs to which the common member belongs are relieved of the responsibility to examine the firm for compliance with the applicable financial responsibility rules. On its face, Rule 17d-1 deals only with an SRO's obligations to enforce member compliance with financial responsibility requirements. Rule 17d-1 does not relieve an SRO from its obligation to examine a common member for compliance with its own rules and provisions of the federal securities laws governing matters other than financial responsibility, including sales practices and trading activities and practices.

To address regulatory duplication in these and other areas, the Commission adopted Rule 17d-2 under the Act.[10] Rule 17d-2 permits SROs to propose joint plans for the allocation of regulatory responsibilities with respect to their common members. Under paragraph (c) of Rule 17d-2, the Commission may declare such a plan effective if, after providing for appropriate notice and opportunity for comment, it determines that the plan is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and for the protection of investors, to foster cooperation and coordination among the SROs, to remove impediments to, and foster the development of, a national market system and a national clearance and settlement system, and is in conformity with the factors set forth in Section 17(d) of the Act. Commission approval of a plan filed pursuant to Rule 17d-2 relieves an SRO of those regulatory responsibilities allocated by the plan to another SRO.

II. The Plan

On November 19, 2014, the Commission declared effective the Plan entered into between FINRA and MIAX for allocating regulatory responsibility pursuant to Rule 17d-2.[11] The Plan is intended to reduce regulatory duplication for firms that are common members of both MIAX and FINRA. The plan reduces regulatory duplication for firms that are members of MIAX and FINRA by allocating regulatory responsibility with respect to certain applicable laws, rules, and regulations. Included in the Plan is an exhibit that lists every MIAX rule for which FINRA bears responsibility under the Plan for overseeing and enforcing with respect to MIAX members that are also members of FINRA and the associated persons therewith (“Certification”). On January 12, 2017, the parties submitted a proposed amendment to the Plan to add MIAX PEARL as a Participant to the Plan.[12]

III. Proposed Amendment to the Plan

On June 28, 2018, the parties submitted a proposed amendment to the Plan (“Amended Plan”). The primary purpose of the Amended Plan is to allocate surveillance, investigation, and enforcement responsibilities for Rule 14e-4 under the Act, as well as certain provisions of Regulation SHO. The text of the proposed Amended Plan is as follows (additions are underlined; deletions are [bracketed]):

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IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing. 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 4-678. 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 website (http://www.sec.gov/​rules/​sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed plan that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed plan 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 website 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 plan also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal offices of FINRA, MIAX, and MIAX PEARL. All comments received will be posted without change. Persons submitting comments are cautioned that we do not redact or edit personal identifying information from comment submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number 4-678 and should be submitted on or before August 17, 2018.

V. Discussion

The Commission finds that the proposed Amended Plan is consistent with the factors set forth in Section 17(d) of the Act [14] and Rule 17d-2(c) thereunder [15] in that the proposed Amended Plan is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and for the protection of investors, fosters cooperation and coordination among SROs, and removes impediments to and fosters the development of the national market system. In particular, the Commission believes that the proposed Amended Plan should reduce unnecessary regulatory duplication by allocating to FINRA certain examination and enforcement responsibilities for Common Members that would otherwise be performed by FINRA and MIAX or MIAX PEARL. Accordingly, the proposed Amended Plan promotes efficiency by reducing costs to Common Members. Furthermore, because MIAX, MIAX PEARL, and FINRA will coordinate their regulatory functions in accordance with the Amended Plan, the Amended Plan should promote investor protection.

The Commission notes that, under the Amended Plan, MIAX, MIAX PEARL, and FINRA have allocated regulatory responsibility for those MIAX and MIAX PEARL rules, set forth in the Certification, that are substantially similar to the applicable FINRA rules in that examination for compliance with such provisions and rules would not require FINRA to develop one or more new examination standards, modules, procedures, or criteria in order to analyze the application of the rule, or a Common Member's activity, conduct, or output in relation to such rule. In addition, under the Amended Plan, FINRA would assume regulatory responsibility for certain provisions of the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder that are set forth in the Certification. The Common Rules covered by the Amended Plan are specifically listed in the Certification, as may be amended by the parties from time to time.

According to the Amended Plan, MIAX and MIAX PEARL will review the Certification at least annually, or more frequently if required by changes in either the rules of MIAX, MIAX PEARL or FINRA, and, if necessary, submit to FINRA an updated list of Common Rules to add MIAX or MIAX PEARL rules not included on the then-current list of Common Rules that are substantially similar to FINRA rules; delete MIAX or MIAX PEARL rules included in the then-current list of Common Rules that no longer qualify as common rules; and confirm that the remaining rules on the list of Common Rules continue to be MIAX or MIAX PEARL rules that qualify as common rules.[16] FINRA will then confirm in writing whether the rules listed in any updated list are Common Rules as defined in the Amended Plan. Under the Amended Plan, MIAX and MIAX PEARL also will provide FINRA with a current list of Common Members and shall update the list no less frequently than once each quarter.[17] The Commission believes that these provisions are designed to provide for continuing communication between the parties to ensure the continued accuracy of the scope of the proposed allocation of regulatory responsibility.

The Commission is hereby declaring effective an Amended Plan that, among other things, allocates regulatory responsibility to FINRA for the oversight and enforcement of all MIAX and MIAX PEARL rules that are substantially similar to the rules of FINRA for Common Members of FINRA and MIAX, and FINRA and MIAX PEARL. Therefore, modifications to the Certification need not be filed with the Commission as an amendment to the Amended Plan, provided that the parties are only adding to, deleting from, or confirming changes to MIAX or MIAX PEARL rules in the Certification in conformance with the definition of Common Rules provided in the Amended Plan. However, should the parties decide to add a MIAX or MIAX PEARL rule to the Certification that is not substantially similar to a FINRA rule; delete a MIAX or MIAX PEARL rule from the Certification that is substantially similar to a FINRA rule; or leave on the Certification a MIAX or MIAX PEARL rule that is no longer substantially similar to a FINRA rule, then such a change would constitute an amendment to the Amended Plan, which must be filed with the Commission pursuant to Rule 17d-2 under the Act.[18]

Under paragraph (c) of Rule 17d-2, the Commission may, after appropriate notice and comment, declare a plan, or any part of a plan, effective. In this instance, the Commission believes that appropriate notice and comment can take place after the proposed amendment is effective. The primary purpose of the amendment is to allocate surveillance, investigation, and enforcement responsibilities for Rule 14e-4 under the Act, as well as certain provisions of Regulation SHO. By declaring it effective today, the Amended Plan can become effective and Start Printed Page 35696be implemented without undue delay. The Commission notes that the prior version of this plan immediately prior to this proposed amendment was published for comment and the Commission did not receive any comments thereon.[19] Furthermore, the Commission does not believe that the amendment to the plan raises any new regulatory issues that the Commission has not previously considered.

VI. Conclusion

This order gives effect to the Amended Plan filed with the Commission in File No. 4-678. The parties shall notify all members affected by the Amended Plan of their rights and obligations under the Amended Plan.

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 17(d) of the Act, that the Amended Plan in File No. 4-678, between the FINRA, MIAX, and MIAX PEARL, filed pursuant to Rule 17d-2 under the Act, hereby is approved and declared effective.

It is further ordered that MIAX and MIAX PEARL are each relieved of those responsibilities allocated to FINRA under the Amended Plan in File No. 4-678.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[20]

Eduardo A. Aleman,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

7.  See Securities Act Amendments of 1975, Report of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to Accompany S. 249, S. Rep. No. 94-75, 94th Cong., 1st Session 32 (1975).

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8.  17 CFR 240.17d-1 and 17 CFR 240.17d-2, respectively.

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9.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 12352 (April 20, 1976), 41 FR 18808 (May 7, 1976).

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10.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 12935 (October 28, 1976), 41 FR 49091 (November 8, 1976).

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11.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 73641 (November 19, 2014), 79 FR 70230 (November 25, 2014).

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12.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79974 (February 6, 2017), 82 FR 10417 (February 10, 2017).

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16.  See paragraph 2 of the Amended Plan.

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17.  See paragraph 3 of the Amended Plan.

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18.  The addition to or deletion from the Certification of any federal securities laws, rules, and regulations for which FINRA would bear responsibility under the Amended Plan for examining, and enforcing compliance by, Common Members, also would constitute an amendment to the Amended Plan.

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19.  See supra note 12 (citing to Securities Exchange Act Release No. 79974).

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[FR Doc. 2018-16110 Filed 7-26-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P