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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Clarify Rule 4120(c)(9)

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Start Preamble September 3, 2019.

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 August 21, 2019, The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

The Exchange proposes to clarify Rule 4120(c)(9) without changing its substance.

The text of the proposed rule change is set forth below. Proposed new language is italicized; deleted text is in brackets.

* * * * *

The Nasdaq Stock Market Rules

* * * * *

4120. Limit Up-Limit Down Plan and Trading Halts

(a)-(b) No change.

(c) Procedure for Initiating and Terminating a Trading Halt

(1)-(8) No change.

(9) For purposes of this Rule and Rule 4753, the process for halting and initial pricing of a security that is the subject of an initial public offering shall also be available for the initial pricing of any other security that has not been listed Start Printed Page 47335on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to the initial pricing, provided that a broker-dealer serving in the role of financial advisor to the issuer of the securities being listed is willing to perform the functions under Rule 4120(c)(8) that are performed by an underwriter with respect to an initial public offering. If more than one broker-dealer is serving in the role of financial advisor, the issuer must designate one to perform the functions under Rule 4120(c)(8).

(10) No change.

* * * * *

The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's website at http://nasdaq.cchwallstreet.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

Nasdaq proposes to amend Rule 4120(c)(9) to clarify that, if more than one broker-dealer is serving in the role of financial advisor to the issuer, in order to use the Nasdaq IPO Cross, as defined below, to initiate trading in securities that have not been listed on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to the initial pricing, the issuer must designate one financial advisor to perform the functions under Rule 4120(c)(8).[3]

In 2014, Nasdaq first adopted rules to allow the use of the Nasdaq IPO Cross to initiate trading in securities that have not been listed on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to the initial pricing and described the role of financial advisors in that process.[4] At that time, the Exchange added new Rule 4120(c)(9) [5] to set forth the process by which trading commences in such securities. Under that rule, securities of companies that have not previously been listed on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to listing on Nasdaq can be launched for trading using the same crossing mechanism available for IPOs outlined in Rule 4120(c)(8) and Rule 4753 (the “IPO Cross”). Prior to that rule change, securities of companies that were not conducting IPOs were released using the Halt Cross outlined in Rule 4120(c)(7), which differed from the IPO Cross.[6]

The 2014 Rule Change extended the safeguards contained in the IPO Cross to securities that have not been listed on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to the initial pricing and established that a broker-dealer serving in the role of financial advisor to the issuer could serve in the same capacity for such securities as the underwriter does for IPOs. Specifically, Rule 4120(c)(9) provides that the IPO Cross process described in Rules 4120 and 4753 is available to securities that have not been listed on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to the initial pricing where “a broker-dealer serving in the role of financial advisor to the issuer of the securities being listed is willing to perform the functions under Rule 4120(c)(8) that are performed by an underwriter with respect to an initial public offering.” [7]

Rule 4120(c)(8) implies that only one underwriter performs the functions the rule describes. Typically, such functions are performed by the lead underwriter, which is referred to as “the” underwriter in the rule.

Similarly, Nasdaq proposes to clarify that, if more than one broker-dealer is serving in the role of financial advisor to the issuer, in order to use the Nasdaq IPO Cross to initiate trading in securities that have not been listed on a national securities exchange or traded in the over-the-counter market pursuant to FINRA Form 211 immediately prior to the initial pricing, the issuer must designate one financial advisor to perform the functions under Rule 4120(c)(8).

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,[8] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[9] 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.

Nasdaq believes that additional clarity that the issuer must designate one financial advisor to perform the functions under Rule 4120(c)(8) will promote fair and orderly markets by eliminating potential confusion and by continuing to protect against volatility in the pricing and initial trading of the unseasoned securities covered by the proposed rule change.

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. The proposed change is designed to more clearly describe the current operation of an existing rule without changing its substance and, therefore, Nasdaq believes that the proposed change will not impose a burden on competition.Start Printed Page 47336

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

No written comments were either solicited or received.

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

Because the foregoing proposed rule change does not: (i) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative for 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [10] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[11]

At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change 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 Number SR-NASDAQ-2019-066. 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 20549-1090 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 Number SR-NASDAQ-2019-066 and should be submitted on or before September 30, 2019.

Start Signature

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

Jill M. Peterson,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  On July 18, 2019, Nasdaq submitted a proposed rule change to amend 4120(c)(9). The effect of that rule change, if approved by the Commission, will be to make certain additional companies eligible to use the IPO Cross. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 86537 (July 31, 2019), 84 FR 38321 (August 6, 2019) (SR-NASDAQ-2019-060).

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4.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 71931 (April 11, 2014), 79 FR 21829 (April 17, 2014) (SR-NASDAQ-2014-032) (the “2014 Rule Change”).

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5.  In 2014, Nasdaq filed SR-NASDAQ-2014-081 modifying the functions that are performed by an underwriter with respect to an initial public offering and renumbered certain paragraphs of Rule 4120. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 73399 (October 21, 2014), 79 FR 63981 (October 27, 2014) (approving SR-NASDAQ-2014-081). All references in this filing are to the renumbered rules, as currently in effect.

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6.  The Halt Cross process has a shorter quoting period (five minutes) and provides no ability to extend the quoting period in the event trading interest or volatility in the market appears likely to have a material impact on the security, unless there is an order imbalance as defined in the rule. See the 2014 Rule Change for additional details on the differences between the Halt Cross and the IPO Cross.

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7.  Subsequent to the 2014 Rule Change Nasdaq expanded and elaborated the functions that are performed by an underwriter with respect to an initial public offering. See footnote 6, above. Rule 4120(c)(9) requires a broker-dealer serving in the role of a financial advisor to the issuer of the securities being listed to perform all such functions in order for the issuer to utilize the IPO Cross for the initial pricing of the security.

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11.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) requires a self-regulatory organization to give the Commission written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission. The Exchange has satisfied this requirement.

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[FR Doc. 2019-19334 Filed 9-6-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P