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Self-Regulatory Organizations; MIAX Emerald, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Its Options Regulatory Fee

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Start Preamble August 8, 2019.

Pursuant to the provisions of 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 August 1, 2019, MIAX Emerald, LLC (“MIAX Emerald” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) a 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 is filing a proposal to amend the MIAX Emerald Fee Schedule (the “Fee Schedule”) to adjust its Options Regulatory Fee (“ORF”).

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's website at http://www.miaxoptions.com/​rule-filings/​emerald, at MIAX's principal office, 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 the Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

Currently, the Exchange charges an ORF in the amount of $0.00060 per contract side. The Exchange proposes to increase this ORF to $0.0013 per contract side. In light of historical and projected volume changes and shifts in the industry and on the Exchange, as well as changes to the Exchange's regulatory cost structure, the Exchange is proposing to change the amount of ORF that will be collected by the Exchange. The Exchange's proposed change to the ORF should balance the Exchange's regulatory revenue against the anticipated regulatory costs.

The per-contract ORF will continue to be assessed by MIAX Emerald to each MIAX Emerald Member for all options transactions, including Mini Options, cleared or ultimately cleared by the Member which are cleared by the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) in the “customer” range, regardless of the exchange on which the transaction occurs. The ORF will be collected by OCC on behalf of MIAX Emerald from either (1) a Member that was the ultimate clearing firm for the transaction or (2) a non-Member that was the ultimate clearing firm where a Member was the executing clearing firm for the transaction. The Exchange uses reports from OCC to determine the identity of the executing clearing firm and ultimate clearing firm.

To illustrate how the ORF is assessed and collected, the Exchange provides the following set of examples. If the transaction is executed on the Exchange and the ORF is assessed, if there is no change to the clearing account of the original transaction, then the ORF is collected from the Member that is the executing clearing firm for the transaction. (The Exchange notes that, for purposes of the Fee Schedule, when there is no change to the clearing account of the original transaction, the executing clearing firm is deemed to be the ultimate clearing firm.) If there is a change to the clearing account of the original transaction (i.e., the executing clearing firm “gives-up” or “CMTAs” the transaction to another clearing firm), then the ORF is collected from the clearing firm that ultimately clears the transaction—the ultimate clearing firm. The ultimate clearing firm may be either a Member or non-Member of the Exchange. If the transaction is executed on an away exchange and the ORF is assessed, then the ORF is collected from the ultimate clearing firm for the transaction. Again, the ultimate clearing firm may be either a Member or non-Member of the Exchange. The Exchange notes, however, that when the transaction is executed on an away exchange, the Exchange does not assess the ORF when neither the executing clearing firm nor the ultimate clearing firm is a Member (even if a Member is “given-up” or “CMTAed” and then such Member subsequently “gives-up” or “CMTAs” the transaction to another non-Member via a CMTA reversal). Finally, the Exchange will not assess the ORF on outbound linkage trades, whether executed at the Exchange or an away exchange. “Linkage trades” are tagged in the Exchange's system, so the Exchange can readily tell them apart from other trades. A customer order routed to another exchange results in two customer trades, one from the originating exchange and one from the recipient exchange. Charging ORF on both trades could result in double-billing of ORF for a single customer order, thus the Exchange will not assess ORF on outbound linkage trades in a linkage scenario. This assessment practice is identical to the assessment practice currently utilized by the Exchange's affiliates, Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC (“MIAX”) and MIAX PEARL, LLC (“MIAX PEARL”).[3]

As a practical matter, when a transaction that is subject to the ORF is not executed on the Exchange, the Exchange lacks the information necessary to identify the order entering member for that transaction. There are a multitude of order entering market participants throughout the industry, Start Printed Page 40450and such participants can make changes to the market centers to which they connect, including dropping their connection to one market center and establish themselves as participants on another. For these reasons, it is not possible for the Exchange to identify, and thus assess fees such as an ORF, on order entering participants on away markets on a given trading day.

Clearing members, however, are distinguished from order entering participants because they remain identified to the Exchange on information the Exchange receives from OCC regardless of the identity of the order entering participant, their location, and the market center on which they execute transactions. Therefore, the Exchange believes it is more efficient for the operation of the Exchange and for the marketplace as a whole to collect the ORF from clearing members.

The Exchange monitors the amount of revenue collected from the ORF to ensure that it, in combination with other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed regulatory costs. In determining whether an expense is considered a regulatory cost, the Exchange reviews all costs and makes determinations if there is a nexus between the expense and a regulatory function. The Exchange notes that fines collected by the Exchange in connection with a disciplinary matter offset ORF.

As discussed below, the Exchange believes it is appropriate to charge the ORF only to transactions that clear as customer at the OCC. The Exchange believes that its broad regulatory responsibilities with respect to a Member's activities supports applying the ORF to transactions cleared but not executed by a Member. The Exchange's regulatory responsibilities are the same regardless of whether a Member enters a transaction or clears a transaction executed on its behalf. The Exchange regularly reviews all such activities, including performing surveillance for position limit violations, manipulation, front-running, contrary exercise advice violations and insider trading. These activities span across multiple exchanges.

The ORF is designed to recover a material portion of the costs to the Exchange of the supervision and regulation of Members' customer options business, including performing routine surveillances and investigations, as well as policy, rulemaking, interpretive and enforcement activities. The Exchange believes that revenue generated from the ORF, when combined with all of the Exchange's other regulatory fees and fines, will cover a material portion, but not all, of the Exchange's regulatory costs. The Exchange notes that its regulatory responsibilities with respect to Member compliance with options sales practice rules have been allocated to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) under a 17d-2 Agreement. The ORF is not designed to cover the cost of options sales practice regulation.

The Exchange will continue to monitor the amount of revenue collected from the ORF to ensure that it, in combination with its other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed the Exchange's total regulatory costs. The Exchange will continue to monitor MIAX Emerald regulatory costs and revenues at a minimum on a semi-annual basis. If the Exchange determines regulatory revenues exceed or are insufficient to cover a material portion of its regulatory costs, the Exchange will adjust the ORF by submitting a fee change filing to the Commission. The Exchange will notify Members of adjustments to the ORF via regulatory circular at least 30 days prior to the effective date of the change.

The Exchange believes it is reasonable and appropriate for the Exchange to charge the ORF for options transactions regardless of the exchange on which the transactions occur. The Exchange has a statutory obligation to enforce compliance by Members and their associated persons under the Act and the rules of the Exchange and to surveil for other manipulative conduct by market participants (including non-Members) trading on the Exchange. The Exchange cannot effectively surveil for such conduct without looking at and evaluating activity across all options markets. Many of the Exchange's market surveillance programs require the Exchange to look at and evaluate activity across all options markets, such as surveillance for position limit violations, manipulation, front-running and contrary exercise advice violations/expiring exercise declarations. While much of this activity relates to the execution of orders, the ORF is assessed on and collected from clearing firms. The Exchange, because it lacks access to information on the identity of the entering firm for executions that occur on away markets, believes it is appropriate to assess the ORF on its Members' clearing activity, based on information the Exchange receives from OCC, including for away market activity. Among other reasons, doing so better and more accurately captures activity that occurs away from the Exchange over which the Exchange has a degree of regulatory responsibility. In so doing, the Exchange believes that assessing ORF on Member clearing firms equitably distributes the collection of ORF in a fair and reasonable manner. Also, the Exchange and the other options exchanges are required to populate a consolidated options audit trail (“COATS”) [4] system in order to surveil a Member's activities across markets.

In addition to its own surveillance programs, the Exchange works with other SROs and exchanges on intermarket surveillance related issues. Through its participation in the Intermarket Surveillance Group (“ISG”),[5] the Exchange shares information and coordinates inquiries and investigations with other exchanges designed to address potential intermarket manipulation and trading abuses. The Exchange's participation in ISG helps it to satisfy the requirement that it has coordinated surveillance with markets on which security futures are traded and markets on which any security underlying security futures are traded to detect manipulation and insider trading.[6]

The Exchange believes that charging the ORF across markets avoids having Members direct their trades to other markets in order to avoid the fee and to thereby avoid paying for their fair share for regulation. If the ORF did not apply to activity across markets then a Member would send their orders to the least cost, least regulated exchange. Other exchanges do impose a similar fee on their members' activity, including the activity of those members on MIAX Emerald,[7] including the activity of those members on MIAX Emerald, MIAX and MIAX PEARL.[8] The Exchange notes that there is established precedent for an SRO charging a fee across markets, Start Printed Page 40451namely, FINRAs Trading Activity Fee [9] and the NYSE American LLC (“NYSE American”), NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”), Cboe Exchange, Inc. (“CBOE”), Nasdaq PHLX LLC (“Phlx”), Nasdaq ISE, LLC (“ISE”), Nasdaq GEMX, LLC (“GEMX”) and BOX Exchange LLC (“BOX”) ORF. While the Exchange does not have all the same regulatory responsibilities as FINRA, the Exchange believes that, like other exchanges that have adopted an ORF, its broad regulatory responsibilities with respect to a Member's activities, irrespective of where their transactions take place, supports a regulatory fee applicable to transactions on other markets. Unlike FINRA's Trading Activity Fee, the ORF applies only to a Member's customer options transactions.

Additionally, the Exchange specifies in the Fee Schedule that the Exchange may only increase or decrease the ORF semi-annually, and any such fee change will be effective on the first business day of February or August. In addition to submitting a proposed rule change to the Commission as required by the Act to increase or decrease the ORF, the Exchange notifies participants via a Regulatory Circular of any anticipated change in the amount of the fee at least 30 calendar days prior to the effective date of the change. The Exchange believes that by providing guidance on the timing of any changes to the ORF, the Exchange makes it easier for participants to ensure their systems are configured to properly account for the ORF.

The Exchange is proposing to increase the ORF from $0.00060 to $0.0013, as of August 1, 2019. In light of recent market volumes on the Exchange and changes to the Exchange's regulatory costs, the Exchange is proposing to increase the amount of ORF that will be collected by the Exchange. As noted above, the Exchange regularly reviews its ORF to ensure that the ORF, in combination with its other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed regulatory costs. The Exchange believes this adjustment will permit the Exchange to cover a material portion of its regulatory costs, while not exceeding regulatory costs.

In connection with this filing, the Exchange notes that its affiliates, MIAX and MIAX PEARL, will also be adjusting the ORF fees that each of those exchanges charge. Including the proposed adjustments to ORF of both MIAX and MIAX PEARL with the proposed adjustment by the Exchange, MIAX Emerald and its affiliates' ORF will see a net decrease from $0.0063 to $0.0053 with the proposed adjustments for August 1, 2019.

The Exchange notified Members via a Regulatory Circular of the proposed change to the ORF at least thirty (30) calendar days prior to the proposed operative date, on July 1, 2019.[10] The Exchange believes that the prior notification to market participants will ensure market participants are prepared to configure their systems to properly account for the ORF.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal to amend its Fee Schedule is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [11] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(4) of the Act [12] in particular, in that it is an equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its members and issuers and other persons using its facilities. The Exchange also believes the proposal furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [13] 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 and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers and dealers.

The Exchange believes that increasing the ORF from $0.00060 to $0.0013, as of August 1, 2019 is reasonable because the Exchange's collection of ORF needs to be balanced against the amount of regulatory costs incurred by the Exchange. The Exchange believes that the proposed adjustments noted herein will serve to balance the Exchange's regulatory revenue against the anticipated regulatory costs.

The Exchange believes that increasing the ORF from $0.00060 to $0.0013, as of August 1, 2019, is equitable and not unfairly discriminatory because it is objectively allocated to Members in that it is charged to all Members on all their transactions that clear as customer at the OCC. Moreover, the Exchange believes the ORF ensures fairness by assessing fees to those Members that are directly based on the amount of customer options business they conduct. Regulating customer trading activity is much more labor intensive and requires greater expenditure of human and technical resources than regulating non-customer trading activity, which tends to be more automated and less labor-intensive. As a result, the costs associated with administering the customer component of the Exchange's overall regulatory program are materially higher than the costs associated with administering the non-customer component (e.g., Member proprietary transactions) of its regulatory program.

The ORF is designed to recover a material portion of the costs of supervising and regulating Members' customer options business including performing routine surveillances and investigations, as well as policy, rulemaking, interpretive and enforcement activities. The Exchange will monitor the amount of revenue collected from the ORF to ensure that it, in combination with its other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed the Exchange's total regulatory costs. The Exchange has designed the ORF to generate revenues that, when combined with all of the Exchange's other regulatory fees, will be less than or equal to the Exchange's regulatory costs, which is consistent with the Commission's view that regulatory fees be used for regulatory purposes and not to support the Exchange's business side. In this regard, the Exchange believes that the proposed increase to the fee is reasonable.

The Exchange believes that continuing to limit changes to the ORF to twice a year on specific dates with advance notice is reasonable because it gives participants certainty on the timing of changes, if any, and better enables them to properly account for ORF charges among their customers. The Exchange believes that continuing to limit changes to the ORF to twice a year on specific dates is equitable and not unfairly discriminatory because it will apply in the same manner to all Members that are subject to the ORF and provide them with additional advance notice of changes to that fee.

The Exchange believes that collecting the ORF from non-Members when such non-Members ultimately clear the transaction (that is, when the non-Member is the “ultimate clearing firm” for a transaction in which a Member was assessed the ORF) is an equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its members and issuers and other persons using its facilities. The Exchange notes that there is a material distinction between “assessing” the ORF and “collecting” the ORF. The ORF is only assessed to a Member with respect to a particular transaction in which it is either the Start Printed Page 40452executing clearing firm or ultimate clearing firm. The Exchange does not assess the ORF to non-Members. Once, however, the ORF is assessed to a Member for a particular transaction, the ORF may be collected from the Member or a non-Member, depending on how the transaction is cleared at OCC. If there was no change to the clearing account of the original transaction, the ORF would be collected from the Member. If there was a change to the clearing account of the original transaction and a non-Member becomes the ultimate clearing firm for that transaction, then the ORF will be collected from that non-Member. The Exchange believes that this collection practice continues to be reasonable and appropriate, and was originally instituted for the benefit of clearing firms that desired to have the ORF be collected from the clearing firm that ultimately clears the transaction.

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

MIAX Emerald 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. This proposal does not create an unnecessary or inappropriate intra-market burden on competition because the ORF applies to all customer activity, and is designed to enable the Exchange to recover a material portion of the Exchange's cost related to its regulatory activities. It also supplements the regulatory revenue derived from non-customer activity. This proposal does not create an unnecessary or inappropriate inter-market burden on competition because it is a regulatory fee that supports regulation in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The Exchange is obligated to ensure that the amount of regulatory revenue collected from the ORF, in combination with its other regulatory fees and fines, does not exceed regulatory costs. Unilateral action by MIAX Emerald in establishing fees for services provided to its Members and others using its facilities will not have an impact on competition. As a new entrant in the highly competitive environment for equity options trading, MIAX Emerald does not have the market power necessary to set prices for services that are unreasonable or unfairly discriminatory in violation of the Act. The Exchange's ORF, as described herein, is comparable to fees charged by other options exchanges for the same or similar services. The Exchange believes that continuing to limit the changes to the ORF to twice a year on specific dates with advance notice is not intended to address a competitive issue but rather to provide Members with better notice of any change that the Exchange may make to the ORF.

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

Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

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

The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act,[14] and Rule 19b-4(f)(2) [15] thereunder. At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

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 No. SR-EMERALD-2019-29. 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 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 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 filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. 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 No. SR-EMERALD-2019-29, and should be submitted on or before September 4, 2019.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[16]

Jill M. Peterson,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 85162 (February 15, 2019), 84 FR 5783 (February 22, 2019) (SR-MIAX-2019-01); 85163 (February 15, 2019), 84 FR 5798 (February 22, 2019) (SR-PEARL-2019-01).

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4.  COATS effectively enhances intermarket options surveillance by enabling the options exchanges to reconstruct the market promptly to effectively surveil certain rules.

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5.  ISG is an industry organization formed in 1983 to coordinate intermarket surveillance among the SROs by co-operatively sharing regulatory information pursuant to a written agreement between the parties. The goal of the ISG's information sharing is to coordinate regulatory efforts to address potential intermarket trading abuses and manipulations.

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6.  See Section 6(h)(3)(I) of the Act.

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7.  Similar regulatory fees have been instituted by Nasdaq PHLX LLC (“Phlx”) (See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 61133 (December 9, 2009), 74 FR 66715 (December 16, 2009) (SR-Phlx-2009-100)); Nasdaq ISE, LLC (“ISE”) (See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 61154 (December 11, 2009), 74 FR 67278 (December 18, 2009) (SR-ISE-2009-105)); and Nasdaq GEMX, LLC (“GEMX”) (See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 70200 (August 14, 2013) 78 FR 51242 (August 20, 2013) (SR-Topaz-2013-01)).

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8.  See supra note 3.

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9.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47946 (May 30, 2003), 68 FR 34021 (June 6, 2003) (SR-NASD-2002-148).

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14.  15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii).

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[FR Doc. 2019-17386 Filed 8-13-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P