Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change and Amendments No. 1 and 2 Thereto Relating to the Establishment of a New Class of Registered Options Trader Called a Remote Registered Options Trader (“RROT”), 7083-7087 [E6-1832]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 28 / Friday, February 10, 2006 / Notices the Federal Register on December 30, 2005,5 and the Commission received six comment letters. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is granting approval of the Proposed Standard. rmajette on PROD1PC67 with NOTICES1 II. Description The Act establishes the PCAOB to oversee the audits of public companies and related matters, to protect investors, and to further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate and independent audit reports.6 Section 103(a) of the Act directs the PCAOB to establish auditing and related attestation standards, quality control standards, and ethics standards to be used by registered public accounting firms in the preparation and issuance of audit reports as required by the Act or the rules of the Commission. The Proposed Standard is applicable to engagements tailored solely to report on whether a previously reported material weakness continues to exist. Such an engagement is voluntary in nature at the election of management, and may be performed as of any reasonable date selected by management. The auditor may report on the remediation of one or more material weaknesses as part of a single engagement, and the engagement need not be performed in conjunction with an audit or review of the company’s financial statements. In order to perform such an engagement, the auditor must receive a written report from management that contains several elements, including a statement from management that the identified material weakness no longer exists as of the date specified by management. If the auditor determines that the material weakness continues to exist, the company may readdress remediation efforts and reengage the auditor to opine on whether the material weakness continues to exist. The Proposed Standard also includes illustrative auditor’s reports (Appendix A) and additional guidance (Appendix B—‘‘Background and Basis for Conclusions’’). The Proposed Standard states that, if approved by the Commission, it would be effective as of the date of Commission approval. III. Discussion The Commission’s comment period on the Proposed Standard ended on January 20, 2006, and the Commission received six comment letters. The comment letters came from four registered public accounting firms and two professional associations. None of the comment letters received were from issuers or investors. In general, the respondents expressed support for the Proposed Standard. As part of their comment letters, two accounting firms and a professional organization representing the internal audit profession requested guidance on questions regarding the acceptable forms for use in filing management’s report and the auditor’s report. In response to these questions, the following is noted: • Since the Commission’s rules do not specifically address the filing of such voluntary information, if an issuer wishes to publicly disseminate the reports of management and the auditor on whether a previously reported material weakness continues to exist, an issuer can use any Exchange Act form it believes is appropriate. • Our rules do not specify the form of disclosure that management should use when describing the circumstances surrounding the remediation of a previously reported material weakness, and our general disclosure principle and requirements would apply. However, the disclosure should not amend management’s conclusion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of the end of the fiscal year (performed pursuant to the Commission’s rules implementing Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002).7 Further, management can only conclude that internal control over financial reporting is effective if as of the time of remediation of a material weakness (or as of any other time) an assessment of effectiveness pursuant to those rules is performed as of that time. • If the remediation was completed between the end of the fiscal year and the filing of the Form 10–K, management may include a single, combined report on the results of the annual assessment of internal control over financial reporting and the subsequent conclusion related to the remediation of a material weakness identified in the annual assessment. IV. Conclusion The Commission believes that the proposed rules provide a reasonable format for assessing whether a material weakness in a company’s internal controls that has been, or is being, reported to investors continues to exist. However, to facilitate implementation of 5 Release No. 34–52990 (December 21, 2005) [70 FR 77602]. 6 Section 101(a) of the Act. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:10 Feb 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 the standard, the Commission expects the PCAOB, within 90 days of the issuance of this order, to issue a clear and concise outline of the affirmative audit steps set forth in the standard. On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that proposed Auditing Standard No. 4 and the proposed amendment to AT sec. 101 are consistent with the requirements of the Act and the securities laws and are necessary and appropriate in the public interest and for the protection of investors. It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 107 of the Act and Section 19(b)(2) of the Exchange Act, that proposed Auditing Standard No. 4, Reporting on Whether a Previously Reported Material Weakness Continues to Exist and a proposed Conforming Amendment to Interim Attestation Standard—AT sec. 101, Attest Engagements (File No. PCAOB–2005– 01) be and hereby is approved. By the Commission. Nancy M. Morris, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–1841 Filed 2–9–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8010–01–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–53220; File No. SR–Amex– 2005–100] Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change and Amendments No. 1 and 2 Thereto Relating to the Establishment of a New Class of Registered Options Trader Called a Remote Registered Options Trader (‘‘RROT’’) February 3, 2006. 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 September 30, 2005, the American Stock Exchange LLC (‘‘Amex’’ or ‘‘Exchange’’) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Amex. On January 13, 2006, the Amex filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change.3 On January 26, 2006, the Amex filed Amendment No. 2 to the proposed 1 15 7 Release No. 34–47986, Management’s Reports on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting and Certification of Disclosure in Exchange Act Periodic Reports (June 5, 2003). PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 7083 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1). CFR 240.19b–4. 3 Amendment No. 1, which replaced and superseded the original filing in its entirety, is incorporated in this notice. 2 17 E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 7084 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 28 / Friday, February 10, 2006 / Notices rule change.4 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as amended, from interested persons. I. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change The Exchange proposes to adopt new Rule 994—ANTE and to amend existing Rules 900—ANTE, 918—ANTE, 935— ANTE, 936—ANTE, 936C—ANTE, 950—ANTE, 951—ANTE, 958—ANTE and 958A—ANTE to authorize a new category of Registered Options Traders (‘‘ROTs’’) called a Remote Registered Options Trader (‘‘RROT’’). The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Amex’s Web site at http://www.amex.com, at the Amex’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 Amex 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 Amex has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements. rmajette on PROD1PC67 with NOTICES1 A. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose The Exchange proposes to create a new category of ROTs called an RROT. An RROT is a ROT which would be a member or member organization so designated by the Exchange which would be awarded remote quoting rights to enter bids and offers electronically from locations other than the trading crowd where the applicable options class is traded on the Exchange’s physical trading floor. The Exchange’s proposal introduces the concept of awarding remote quoting rights to specialists and ROTs based on quantitative criteria. Specialists would be awarded remote quoting rights based on Exchange floor volume executed and their percentage of the average market share of industry volume in the options in which they specialize per quarter. 4 Amendment No. 2, which made clarifying changes to the Purpose section, as well as changes to the proposed rule text, is incorporated in this notice. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:10 Feb 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 ROTs would be awarded remote quoting rights based solely on floor volume executed. The Exchange believes that the award of remote quoting rights will serve to foster competition and award specialists and ROTs for their performance in the option classes in which they trade. Furthermore, the proposed RROT program combines the electronic and open outcry trading models. Currently, the Exchange permits ROTs to submit quotes only from the physical trading floor. In this regard, the Exchange anticipates that offering the ability to enter offers and bids electronically away from the location where the options class is traded on the Exchange’s physical trading floor will increase the liquidity available in those classes to which the RROT is assigned, as well as enhance the overall competitiveness of the Exchange.5 Exchange Rules applicable to ROTs would not apply to RROTs unless otherwise specified. The proposed rules and amendments to current rules discussed below would address the definition, approval process, quoting rights and obligations of RROTs. Remote Registered Options Traders Program i. Application for Designation as an RROT. Proposed Rule 994—ANTE (a) sets forth an RROT’s application and termination procedures. Under the Exchange’s proposal, an RROT is defined as a ROT that is a member or member organization that would be granted remote quoting rights to enter bids and offers electronically from locations other than the trading crowd, both on and off the Exchange’s trading floor, where the applicable options class is traded. A member or member organization requesting approval to be designated as an RROT is required to file a written application with the Exchange, pursuant to Exchange Rules, indicating that it is qualified as a ROT. Under the proposal, an RROT applicant that seeks to withdraw as such must notify the Exchange at least three business days 5 See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 53161 (January 20, 2006), 71 FR 4388 (January 26, 2006) (File No. SR–Amex–2005–75), regarding the Exchange’s proposed Supplemental Registered Options Trader (‘‘SROT’’) program. An SROT is defined as a ROT that is a member organization so designated by the Exchange that would be granted remote quoting rights to enter bids and offers electronically from off the Exchange’s physical trading floor. The SROT program proposes similar amendments proposed to be made to the Exchange Rules herein. Assuming that the SROT proposal receives Commission approval at an earlier date, the Exchange anticipates incorporating the changes proposed in the SROT filing into this filing at that time. PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 prior to the desired effective date of such withdrawal. The Exchange may suspend or terminate any assignment of an RROT in one or more classes whenever, in the Exchange’s judgment, the interests of a fair and orderly market are best served by such action. An RROT may seek review of the suspension or termination of its designation pursuant to Article IV, Section 1(g) of the Constitution and Rule 40. ii. Remote Quoting Rights. The Exchange’s proposal introduces the concept of awarding remote quoting rights to ROTs and specialists. a. Remote Quoting Rights Earned by Volume. ROTs and specialists would earn remote quoting rights based on the percentage of Amex floor volume they execute. Volume executed via remote quoting would not count towards earning remote quoting rights. The pool of quoting rights awarded by volume would be established quarterly by a Committee designated by the Board of Governors of the Exchange that would include a representative from the Options Market Maker Association and a representative from the Options Specialist Association (the ‘‘Committee’’). The Committee would announce the pool of available quoting rights available to be earned by percentage of Amex floor volume, for the subsequent trading period, not later than the first business day of each calendar quarter. The membership would be informed of the amount of quoting rights earned no later than one week prior to the commencement of the subsequent trading period. By way of example, in a given quarter, the Committee may set the total number of quoting rights to be awarded by the percentage of Amex floor volume at 1,000 quoting rights. Assuming the Exchange’s total floor volume for a given quarter amounts to 20 million contracts, a member or member organization which has traded 2 million contracts that quarter has traded 10% of the total Amex floor volume. A member or member organization which has traded 10% of the total Amex floor volume would earn 10% of the available quoting rights, or 100 quoting rights. A member or member organization which has traded 1 million contracts in that same quarter has traded 5% of the Amex floor volume and would earn 5% of the available quoting rights, or 50 quoting rights. b. Remote Quoting Rights Earned by Market Share. Specialists may also earn remote quoting rights based on their percentage of the average market share of the industry volume in the option classes in which they specialize per E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 7085 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 28 / Friday, February 10, 2006 / Notices quarter. The award of remote quoting rights to specialists would be based upon their market share in the top 100 option classes by industry volume, top 101–300 option classes by industry volume, and remaining option classes as follows: OPTIONS CLASSES Top 100 101–300 Greater than 20+ ................................................................................... 15–19.99 ............................................................................................... 10–14.99 ............................................................................................... rmajette on PROD1PC67 with NOTICES1 Specialist percent of market share 3.00 Rights ................. 1.50 Rights ................. 0.50 Rights ................. 1.50 Rights ................. 0.75 Rights ................. 0.25 Rights ................. Option classes with an average daily Amex volume of less than 100 contracts would be excluded from this determination. The number of remote quoting rights earned would vary quarterly based on the foregoing criteria. A specialist’s quarterly market share may not be predetermined. As such, unlike the quoting rights available to be earned by the percentage of the total Amex floor volume, remote quoting rights based on market share would not be preset. The Exchange anticipates that such incentive-based quoting rights will promote competition and encourage specialists to gain an increased market share in the options classes in which they trade. Pursuant to the table above, if a particular specialist firm has earned 14% of the market share in a given option class which is in the top 100 option classes by industry volume, this firm would earn .05 quoting rights for that class. A specialist firm that has earned 25% of the market share in a given option class which is ranked 250 would earn 1.5 quoting rights for that class. A specialist firm that has earned 17% of the market share in a given option class which is ranked 350 would earn .25 quoting rights for that class. This analysis is conducted for every class traded by that specialist. Quoting Rights are totaled and rounded to the nearest whole right. The Exchange proposes that an RROT would be assigned classes pursuant to existing Commentary .05 to Rule 958— ANTE. Each remote quoting right would permit an RROT to remotely quote one option class, and no fractional remote quoting rights would be issued. Furthermore, RROTs may make adjustments to the option classes in which they will remotely quote in the form and manner set forth in Commentary .05 to Rule 958—ANTE. c. Notification of Quoting Rights Earned. As noted above, the pool of quoting rights earned by the percentage of Amex floor volume would be defined quarterly by the Committee. The Committee would announce the pool of quoting rights available to be earned by percentage of Amex floor volume, for VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:10 Feb 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 the subsequent trading period, no later than the first business day of each calendar quarter. The Committee would notify eligible members and member organizations of the quoting rights they have earned, based on both volume and market share, no later than the tenth business day of each calendar quarter. Although the determinations regarding quoting rights would occur quarterly, the time frame during which the quoting rights may be used would be the subsequent three calendar months.6 The Exchange further proposes that remote quoting rights would be transferable. The transfer of remote quoting rights would be private transactions between the members and member organizations. Members and member organizations would be required to notify the Exchange of the transfer of any rights. iii. RROT Obligations. Under the Exchange’s proposal, RROTs must have at least one active floor member acting as a ROT, subject to limitations set forth in the ‘‘Affiliation Limitations’’ section of proposed Rule 994—ANTE, and may remotely quote in up to five (5) option classes per seat owned or leased without any additional seat requirements. RROTs will be required to purchase or lease one additional seat for every forty (40) option classes remotely quoted in excess of the five option classes permitted pursuant to 994—ANTE (c)(i)(a). For example, a member firm with two (2) seats may quote in up to ten (10) option classes, without any additional seat requirements. Likewise, a member firm with twenty (20) seats may quote in up to one-hundred (100) option classes without any additional seat requirements. Quoting remotely in any additional option classes would 6 First quarter data regarding percentage of Amex floor volume and industry market share earned per options class would be used to determine the quoting rights awarded for May, June and July. Second quarter data would be used to determine quoting rights for August, September and October. Third quarter data would be used to determine the quoting rights for November, December and January. Four quarter data would be used to determine the quoting rights for February, March and April. PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 301+ 0.75 Rights. 0.25 Rights. 0.00 Rights. require one additional seat for every forty (40) option classes remotely quoted. Furthermore, Exchange memberships used to satisfy membership requirements to remotely quote as an RROT may not be used for any other purpose while being used in an RROT capacity, including being leased to another member or for trading on the trading floor. An Exchange membership would include a regular membership and an options principal membership. RROTs would also be required to provide continuous two-sided quotations in accordance with the parameters set forth in Rule 958—ANTE (c) in at least 60% of the series of their assigned classes. RROTs may not enter quotations electronically in options classes in which they are not assigned as an RROT. The initial size of an RROT’s remote quotes must be for at least ten contracts (undecremented size). An RROT may be called upon by a Floor Official to submit a single quote or maintain continuous quotes in one or more series of an option class to which the RROT is assigned whenever it is in the interest of maintaining a fair and orderly market. Finally, RROTs will be subject to the current designation of options areas that exist for ROTs.7 In this manner, options and equity trading will be sufficiently separated so that no time or place advantage may potentially be derived from the proximity of the equity and option trading areas. As a result, in connection with the introduction of RROTs, the Exchange represents that there will be no ‘‘line of sight’’ between designated options trading areas and equity trading areas on the floor of the Exchange. The Exchange’s proposal further states that an RROT may not be assigned to an option class where the RROT has a direct or indirect affiliate who is an RROT, ROT, or specialist in that option class. The Exchange’s proposal specifically requires that no person who is either directly or indirectly affiliated 7 See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 39631 (February 9, 1998), 63 FR 8229 (February 18, 1998) and 46362 (August 15, 2002), 67 FR 54243 (August 21, 2002). E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 rmajette on PROD1PC67 with NOTICES1 7086 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 28 / Friday, February 10, 2006 / Notices with an RROT may submit quotations as an RROT, ROT, or specialist in an option class in which the affiliate RROT is assigned. Furthermore, RROTs would be required to maintain information barriers that are reasonably designed to prevent the misuse of material, nonpublic information with any affiliates that may conduct a brokerage business in option classes assigned to an RROT, or that may act as a market maker in any security underlying options assigned to an RROT. The proposal further requires RROTs to comply with Rule 193 regarding the misuse of material nonpublic information between the affiliate and the specialist member organization. The purpose of this provision is to prevent numerous affiliated parties from quoting electronically in the same option classes and receiving multiple automatic allocations for the same or affiliated beneficial account owners. iv. 900—ANTE. Rule 900—ANTE currently sets forth the applicability, definitions and references on ANTE. The Exchange proposes to include the definition of an RROT in 900—ANTE. An RROT is defined as a ROT that is a member or member organization so designated by the Exchange that would be awarded remote quoting rights to enter bids and offers electronically from locations other than the trading crowd where the applicable options class is traded on the Exchange’s physical trading floor. Furthermore, an RROT would be subject to the obligations set forth under proposed Rule 994—ANTE. Exchange rules applicable to ROTs would not apply to RROTs unless specified. The Exchange also proposes to amend the term ‘‘ANTE Participant’’ to include an RROT assigned to trade a specific options class on the ANTE System. v. 918—ANTE. Rule 918—ANTE currently sets forth the automated opening, reopening and closing rotation procedures, trading halts and the supervision of such procedures. The Exchange proposes to amend Commentary .01 to Rule 918—ANTE to include paragraph (c), which provides that RROTs may not submit market orders prior to the opening. RROTs may, however, submit quotes or limit orders prior to the opening. vi. 935—ANTE. Rule 935—ANTE currently provides for the allocation of all contracts executed through the ANTE System. The Exchange proposes to amend to Rule 935—ANTE to include RROTs. Under the Exchange’s proposal, the ANTE System will allocate executed contracts to non-broker-dealer customers, broker-dealers, competing market makers, specialists, ROTs and VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:10 Feb 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 RROTs in accordance with the provisions therein. vii. 936—ANTE and 936C—ANTE. Rule 936—ANTE and Rule 936C— ANTE govern the cancellation and adjustment of equity options transactions and the cancellation and adjustment of index option transactions, respectively.8 The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 936—ANTE and Rule 936C—ANTE to include RROT transactions in those that may be cancelled or adjusted. The proposal further modifies the notification requirement to allow Trading Officials and/or the Obvious Error Panel reviewing the transactions to either orally or electronically notify the members involved in the transaction of their determination. The purpose of the proposed electronic notification requirement is to provide notice to RROTs engaging in transactions off the Exchange’s physical trading floor. viii. 950—ANTE. Rule 950—ANTE (b) currently provides rules for priority and parity at the opening. Paragraph (b)(i) specifically provides that after the opening, an options specialist acting as principal may only retain priority over, or be on parity with, orders for the accounts of broker-dealers, but may not retain priority over, or be on parity with, off-floor orders for the accounts of public customers. The Exchange proposes to amend 950—ANTE (b)(i) to identify RROTs as broker-dealers. Commentary .01 of paragraph (c) currently provides that after the opening, an options specialist acting as principal, may only retain priority over or be on parity with orders for the accounts of broker-dealers but may not retain priority over or be on parity with off-floor orders for the accounts of public customers. Commentary .02 of paragraph (c) provides that options orders for the accounts of broker-dealers may only retain priority over or be on parity with orders for the accounts of broker-dealers but may not retain priority over or be on parity with offfloor orders for the accounts of public customers. The proposed amendments to Commentaries .01 and .02 of paragraph (c) also categorize an RROT as a broker-dealer. Finally, the proposed amendment to Commentary .02 of paragraph (l) will require RROTs to compete with one another to improve the quoted markets in all series of option classes in which they trade. ix. 951—ANTE. Rule 951—ANTE currently governs the bids and offers of options contracts. Commentary .01 to Rule 951—ANTE provides that if the bid 8 See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51246 (February 24, 2005), 70 FR 10425 (March 3, 2005). PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 or offer of a specialist or ROT, locks or crosses the ABBO, the ANTE System will revise the bid by one or more minimum price variations lower than the bid submitted, or revise the offer by one or more minimum price variations higher than the offer submitted, so that the bid or offer submitted does not lock or cross the ABBO provided.9 The Exchange proposes to amend Commentary .01 to Rule 951—ANTE to apply to RROTs. x. 958—ANTE. Rule 958—ANTE governs ANTE options transactions of registered options traders. Pursuant to 958—ANTE (a), ROTs are assigned classes of options in accordance with the existing procedures set forth in Commentary .05. Rule 958—ANTE (a) also provides that any option transactions initiated by a ROT on the Floor and through the facilities of the Exchange for any account in which the ROT has an interest would be in such assigned classes. Paragraph (b) of Rule 958—ANTE provides that transactions of a ROT must be reasonably calculated to contribute to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market, and no ROT should enter into transactions or make bids or offers that are inconsistent with such a course of dealings. Paragraph (c) of Rule 958—ANTE provides that whenever ROTs participate in the trading of options in other than a floor brokerage capacity, or are called upon by a floor official or floor broker acting in an agency capacity, they would be required to make competitive bids and offers necessary, in a market making capacity, to contribute to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market. The Exchange proposes to apply paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of 958—ANTE to RROTs as they currently apply to ROTs. Paragraph (h) currently provides that ROTs may choose to use an Exchange provided or proprietary automated quote system to calculate and disseminate quotes, or join the specialist’s disseminated quotation in some or all of his assigned classes or series. Paragraph (h) further provides that ROTs must be physically present at the specialist’s post on the floor of the Exchange where that options class is traded. 9 The ANTE System collects all of the quotes being calculated by the specialist and each ROT, and determines the best bid and best offer for dissemination pursuant to the firm quote rule, as the Amex Best Bid and Offer (‘‘ABBO’’). The ANTE System never allows a locked or crossed market to occur in the ABBO. If a quote is submitted that would lock or cross the ABBO, the ANTE System will revise the bid or the offer by the minimum price variant(s) so that the ABBO is not locked or crossed. E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 28 / Friday, February 10, 2006 / Notices Under the Exchange’s proposal, RROTs would also use an authorized or proprietary automated quote system to calculate and disseminate quotes. RROTs may not use the ‘‘join quote’’ feature in ANTE. The Exchange believes that requiring RROTs to submit their own quotes in options that an RROT is assigned will serve to further foster active quote competition. Finally, the Exchange proposes that RROTs, as well as ROTs and specialists, must compete with each other to improve the quoted markets in all series of option classes which they trade. The Exchange further proposes to remove the in-person requirement for RROTs as provided in paragraph (h) because the RROT may not be physically present. xi. 958A—ANTE. Rule 958A—ANTE, the Exchange’s Firm Quote Rule, currently provides that ROTs, when inputting their own quotes through an Exchange provided or proprietary automated quote calculation system, would each be considered a responsible broker or dealer for their bids or offers to the extent of their quotation size. The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 958A—ANTE (a)(ii)(C) to include RROTs as responsible broker-dealers to the extent of their quotation size for the purposes of this rule. 2. Statutory Basis The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,10 in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,11 in particular, in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principals of trade, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. B. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Burden on Competition The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will impose no burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. rmajette on PROD1PC67 with NOTICES1 C. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others No written comments were solicited or received by the Exchange on this proposal. 10 15 11 15 U.S.C. 78f(b). U.S.C. 78f(b)(5). VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:10 Feb 09, 2006 Jkt 208001 III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action Within 35 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission will: (A) By order approve such proposed rule change, as amended, or (B) Institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change, as amended, 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, as amended, is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: Electronic Comments • Use the Commission’s Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/ rules/sro.shtml); or • Send an e-mail to rulecomments@sec.gov. Please include File Number SR–Amex–2005–100 on the subject line. 7087 office of the Amex. 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–Amex– 2005–100 and should be submitted on or before March 3, 2006. For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.12 Nancy M. Morris, Secretary. [FR Doc. E6–1832 Filed 2–9–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8010–01–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–53232; File No. SR–Amex– 2006–008] Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Specialist Transaction Fee February 6, 2006. 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 February 1, 2006, the American Stock Exchange Paper Comments LLC (‘‘Amex’’ or ‘‘Exchange’’) filed with • Send paper comments in triplicate the Securities and Exchange to Nancy M. Morris, Secretary, Commission (‘‘Commission’’) the Securities and Exchange Commission, proposed rule change as described in Station Place, 100 F Street, NE., Items I, II, and III below, which Items Washington, DC 20549–1090. have been prepared by the Amex. The All submissions should refer to File Exchange has designated this proposal Number SR–Amex–2005–100. This file as one establishing or changing a due, number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help the fee or other charge imposed by the 3 Exchange under section 19(b)(3)(A), Commission process and review your and Rule 19b–4(f)(2) thereunder,4 which comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will renders the proposal effective upon post all comments on the Commission’s filing with the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/ solicit comments on the proposed rule rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the change from interested persons. 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 inspection and copying in the Commission’s Public Reference Section, Station Place, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 I. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change The Exchange proposes to revise its Specialist Transaction Fee. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Amex’s Web site at http:// www.amex.com, the Office of the Secretary, the Amex, and at the Commission’s Public Reference Room. 12 17 CFR 200.30–3(a)(12). U.S.C. 78s(b)(1). 2 17 CFR 240.19b–4. 3 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A). 4 17 CFR 240.19b–4(f)(2). 1 15 E:\FR\FM\10FEN1.SGM 10FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 28 (Friday, February 10, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7083-7087]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-1832]


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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

[Release No. 34-53220; File No. SR-Amex-2005-100]


Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; 
Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change and Amendments No. 1 and 2 
Thereto Relating to the Establishment of a New Class of Registered 
Options Trader Called a Remote Registered Options Trader (``RROT'')

February 3, 2006.
    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 September 30, 2005, the American Stock Exchange LLC (``Amex'' or 
``Exchange'') filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission 
(``Commission'') the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, 
and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Amex. On January 
13, 2006, the Amex filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule 
change.\3\ On January 26, 2006, the Amex filed Amendment No. 2 to the 
proposed

[[Page 7084]]

rule change.\4\ The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit 
comments on the proposed rule change, as amended, from interested 
persons.
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    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).
    \2\ 17 CFR 240.19b-4.
    \3\ Amendment No. 1, which replaced and superseded the original 
filing in its entirety, is incorporated in this notice.
    \4\ Amendment No. 2, which made clarifying changes to the 
Purpose section, as well as changes to the proposed rule text, is 
incorporated in this notice.
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I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance 
of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to adopt new Rule 994--ANTE and to amend 
existing Rules 900--ANTE, 918--ANTE, 935--ANTE, 936--ANTE, 936C--ANTE, 
950--ANTE, 951--ANTE, 958--ANTE and 958A--ANTE to authorize a new 
category of Registered Options Traders (``ROTs'') called a Remote 
Registered Options Trader (``RROT'').
    The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Amex's Web 
site at http://www.amex.com, at the Amex'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 Amex 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 Amex 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 Exchange proposes to create a new category of ROTs called an 
RROT. An RROT is a ROT which would be a member or member organization 
so designated by the Exchange which would be awarded remote quoting 
rights to enter bids and offers electronically from locations other 
than the trading crowd where the applicable options class is traded on 
the Exchange's physical trading floor.
    The Exchange's proposal introduces the concept of awarding remote 
quoting rights to specialists and ROTs based on quantitative criteria. 
Specialists would be awarded remote quoting rights based on Exchange 
floor volume executed and their percentage of the average market share 
of industry volume in the options in which they specialize per quarter. 
ROTs would be awarded remote quoting rights based solely on floor 
volume executed. The Exchange believes that the award of remote quoting 
rights will serve to foster competition and award specialists and ROTs 
for their performance in the option classes in which they trade.
    Furthermore, the proposed RROT program combines the electronic and 
open outcry trading models. Currently, the Exchange permits ROTs to 
submit quotes only from the physical trading floor. In this regard, the 
Exchange anticipates that offering the ability to enter offers and bids 
electronically away from the location where the options class is traded 
on the Exchange's physical trading floor will increase the liquidity 
available in those classes to which the RROT is assigned, as well as 
enhance the overall competitiveness of the Exchange.\5\
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    \5\ See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 53161 (January 20, 
2006), 71 FR 4388 (January 26, 2006) (File No. SR-Amex-2005-75), 
regarding the Exchange's proposed Supplemental Registered Options 
Trader (``SROT'') program. An SROT is defined as a ROT that is a 
member organization so designated by the Exchange that would be 
granted remote quoting rights to enter bids and offers 
electronically from off the Exchange's physical trading floor. The 
SROT program proposes similar amendments proposed to be made to the 
Exchange Rules herein. Assuming that the SROT proposal receives 
Commission approval at an earlier date, the Exchange anticipates 
incorporating the changes proposed in the SROT filing into this 
filing at that time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Exchange Rules applicable to ROTs would not apply to RROTs unless 
otherwise specified. The proposed rules and amendments to current rules 
discussed below would address the definition, approval process, quoting 
rights and obligations of RROTs.

Remote Registered Options Traders Program

    i. Application for Designation as an RROT. Proposed Rule 994--ANTE 
(a) sets forth an RROT's application and termination procedures. Under 
the Exchange's proposal, an RROT is defined as a ROT that is a member 
or member organization that would be granted remote quoting rights to 
enter bids and offers electronically from locations other than the 
trading crowd, both on and off the Exchange's trading floor, where the 
applicable options class is traded.
    A member or member organization requesting approval to be 
designated as an RROT is required to file a written application with 
the Exchange, pursuant to Exchange Rules, indicating that it is 
qualified as a ROT. Under the proposal, an RROT applicant that seeks to 
withdraw as such must notify the Exchange at least three business days 
prior to the desired effective date of such withdrawal. The Exchange 
may suspend or terminate any assignment of an RROT in one or more 
classes whenever, in the Exchange's judgment, the interests of a fair 
and orderly market are best served by such action. An RROT may seek 
review of the suspension or termination of its designation pursuant to 
Article IV, Section 1(g) of the Constitution and Rule 40.
    ii. Remote Quoting Rights. The Exchange's proposal introduces the 
concept of awarding remote quoting rights to ROTs and specialists.
    a. Remote Quoting Rights Earned by Volume. ROTs and specialists 
would earn remote quoting rights based on the percentage of Amex floor 
volume they execute. Volume executed via remote quoting would not count 
towards earning remote quoting rights.
    The pool of quoting rights awarded by volume would be established 
quarterly by a Committee designated by the Board of Governors of the 
Exchange that would include a representative from the Options Market 
Maker Association and a representative from the Options Specialist 
Association (the ``Committee''). The Committee would announce the pool 
of available quoting rights available to be earned by percentage of 
Amex floor volume, for the subsequent trading period, not later than 
the first business day of each calendar quarter. The membership would 
be informed of the amount of quoting rights earned no later than one 
week prior to the commencement of the subsequent trading period.
    By way of example, in a given quarter, the Committee may set the 
total number of quoting rights to be awarded by the percentage of Amex 
floor volume at 1,000 quoting rights. Assuming the Exchange's total 
floor volume for a given quarter amounts to 20 million contracts, a 
member or member organization which has traded 2 million contracts that 
quarter has traded 10% of the total Amex floor volume. A member or 
member organization which has traded 10% of the total Amex floor volume 
would earn 10% of the available quoting rights, or 100 quoting rights. 
A member or member organization which has traded 1 million contracts in 
that same quarter has traded 5% of the Amex floor volume and would earn 
5% of the available quoting rights, or 50 quoting rights.
    b. Remote Quoting Rights Earned by Market Share. Specialists may 
also earn remote quoting rights based on their percentage of the 
average market share of the industry volume in the option classes in 
which they specialize per

[[Page 7085]]

quarter. The award of remote quoting rights to specialists would be 
based upon their market share in the top 100 option classes by industry 
volume, top 101-300 option classes by industry volume, and remaining 
option classes as follows:

                                                 Options Classes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Specialist percent of market share            Top 100                  101-300                   301+
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Greater than 20+......................  3.00 Rights............  1.50 Rights............  0.75 Rights.
15-19.99..............................  1.50 Rights............  0.75 Rights............  0.25 Rights.
10-14.99..............................  0.50 Rights............  0.25 Rights............  0.00 Rights.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Option classes with an average daily Amex volume of less than 100 
contracts would be excluded from this determination. The number of 
remote quoting rights earned would vary quarterly based on the 
foregoing criteria.
    A specialist's quarterly market share may not be predetermined. As 
such, unlike the quoting rights available to be earned by the 
percentage of the total Amex floor volume, remote quoting rights based 
on market share would not be preset. The Exchange anticipates that such 
incentive-based quoting rights will promote competition and encourage 
specialists to gain an increased market share in the options classes in 
which they trade.
    Pursuant to the table above, if a particular specialist firm has 
earned 14% of the market share in a given option class which is in the 
top 100 option classes by industry volume, this firm would earn .05 
quoting rights for that class. A specialist firm that has earned 25% of 
the market share in a given option class which is ranked 250 would earn 
1.5 quoting rights for that class. A specialist firm that has earned 
17% of the market share in a given option class which is ranked 350 
would earn .25 quoting rights for that class. This analysis is 
conducted for every class traded by that specialist. Quoting Rights are 
totaled and rounded to the nearest whole right.
    The Exchange proposes that an RROT would be assigned classes 
pursuant to existing Commentary .05 to Rule 958--ANTE. Each remote 
quoting right would permit an RROT to remotely quote one option class, 
and no fractional remote quoting rights would be issued. Furthermore, 
RROTs may make adjustments to the option classes in which they will 
remotely quote in the form and manner set forth in Commentary .05 to 
Rule 958--ANTE.
    c. Notification of Quoting Rights Earned. As noted above, the pool 
of quoting rights earned by the percentage of Amex floor volume would 
be defined quarterly by the Committee. The Committee would announce the 
pool of quoting rights available to be earned by percentage of Amex 
floor volume, for the subsequent trading period, no later than the 
first business day of each calendar quarter.
    The Committee would notify eligible members and member 
organizations of the quoting rights they have earned, based on both 
volume and market share, no later than the tenth business day of each 
calendar quarter. Although the determinations regarding quoting rights 
would occur quarterly, the time frame during which the quoting rights 
may be used would be the subsequent three calendar months.\6\
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    \6\ First quarter data regarding percentage of Amex floor volume 
and industry market share earned per options class would be used to 
determine the quoting rights awarded for May, June and July. Second 
quarter data would be used to determine quoting rights for August, 
September and October. Third quarter data would be used to determine 
the quoting rights for November, December and January. Four quarter 
data would be used to determine the quoting rights for February, 
March and April.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Exchange further proposes that remote quoting rights would be 
transferable. The transfer of remote quoting rights would be private 
transactions between the members and member organizations. Members and 
member organizations would be required to notify the Exchange of the 
transfer of any rights.
    iii. RROT Obligations. Under the Exchange's proposal, RROTs must 
have at least one active floor member acting as a ROT, subject to 
limitations set forth in the ``Affiliation Limitations'' section of 
proposed Rule 994--ANTE, and may remotely quote in up to five (5) 
option classes per seat owned or leased without any additional seat 
requirements. RROTs will be required to purchase or lease one 
additional seat for every forty (40) option classes remotely quoted in 
excess of the five option classes permitted pursuant to 994--ANTE 
(c)(i)(a). For example, a member firm with two (2) seats may quote in 
up to ten (10) option classes, without any additional seat 
requirements. Likewise, a member firm with twenty (20) seats may quote 
in up to one-hundred (100) option classes without any additional seat 
requirements. Quoting remotely in any additional option classes would 
require one additional seat for every forty (40) option classes 
remotely quoted.
    Furthermore, Exchange memberships used to satisfy membership 
requirements to remotely quote as an RROT may not be used for any other 
purpose while being used in an RROT capacity, including being leased to 
another member or for trading on the trading floor. An Exchange 
membership would include a regular membership and an options principal 
membership.
    RROTs would also be required to provide continuous two-sided 
quotations in accordance with the parameters set forth in Rule 958--
ANTE (c) in at least 60% of the series of their assigned classes. RROTs 
may not enter quotations electronically in options classes in which 
they are not assigned as an RROT. The initial size of an RROT's remote 
quotes must be for at least ten contracts (undecremented size). An RROT 
may be called upon by a Floor Official to submit a single quote or 
maintain continuous quotes in one or more series of an option class to 
which the RROT is assigned whenever it is in the interest of 
maintaining a fair and orderly market. Finally, RROTs will be subject 
to the current designation of options areas that exist for ROTs.\7\ In 
this manner, options and equity trading will be sufficiently separated 
so that no time or place advantage may potentially be derived from the 
proximity of the equity and option trading areas. As a result, in 
connection with the introduction of RROTs, the Exchange represents that 
there will be no ``line of sight'' between designated options trading 
areas and equity trading areas on the floor of the Exchange.
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    \7\ See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 39631 (February 9, 
1998), 63 FR 8229 (February 18, 1998) and 46362 (August 15, 2002), 
67 FR 54243 (August 21, 2002).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Exchange's proposal further states that an RROT may not be 
assigned to an option class where the RROT has a direct or indirect 
affiliate who is an RROT, ROT, or specialist in that option class. The 
Exchange's proposal specifically requires that no person who is either 
directly or indirectly affiliated

[[Page 7086]]

with an RROT may submit quotations as an RROT, ROT, or specialist in an 
option class in which the affiliate RROT is assigned. Furthermore, 
RROTs would be required to maintain information barriers that are 
reasonably designed to prevent the misuse of material, non-public 
information with any affiliates that may conduct a brokerage business 
in option classes assigned to an RROT, or that may act as a market 
maker in any security underlying options assigned to an RROT. The 
proposal further requires RROTs to comply with Rule 193 regarding the 
misuse of material non-public information between the affiliate and the 
specialist member organization. The purpose of this provision is to 
prevent numerous affiliated parties from quoting electronically in the 
same option classes and receiving multiple automatic allocations for 
the same or affiliated beneficial account owners.
    iv. 900--ANTE. Rule 900--ANTE currently sets forth the 
applicability, definitions and references on ANTE. The Exchange 
proposes to include the definition of an RROT in 900--ANTE. An RROT is 
defined as a ROT that is a member or member organization so designated 
by the Exchange that would be awarded remote quoting rights to enter 
bids and offers electronically from locations other than the trading 
crowd where the applicable options class is traded on the Exchange's 
physical trading floor. Furthermore, an RROT would be subject to the 
obligations set forth under proposed Rule 994--ANTE. Exchange rules 
applicable to ROTs would not apply to RROTs unless specified.
    The Exchange also proposes to amend the term ``ANTE Participant'' 
to include an RROT assigned to trade a specific options class on the 
ANTE System.
    v. 918--ANTE. Rule 918--ANTE currently sets forth the automated 
opening, reopening and closing rotation procedures, trading halts and 
the supervision of such procedures. The Exchange proposes to amend 
Commentary .01 to Rule 918--ANTE to include paragraph (c), which 
provides that RROTs may not submit market orders prior to the opening. 
RROTs may, however, submit quotes or limit orders prior to the opening.
    vi. 935--ANTE. Rule 935--ANTE currently provides for the allocation 
of all contracts executed through the ANTE System. The Exchange 
proposes to amend to Rule 935--ANTE to include RROTs. Under the 
Exchange's proposal, the ANTE System will allocate executed contracts 
to non-broker-dealer customers, broker-dealers, competing market 
makers, specialists, ROTs and RROTs in accordance with the provisions 
therein.
    vii. 936--ANTE and 936C--ANTE. Rule 936--ANTE and Rule 936C--ANTE 
govern the cancellation and adjustment of equity options transactions 
and the cancellation and adjustment of index option transactions, 
respectively.\8\ The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 936--ANTE and Rule 
936C--ANTE to include RROT transactions in those that may be cancelled 
or adjusted. The proposal further modifies the notification requirement 
to allow Trading Officials and/or the Obvious Error Panel reviewing the 
transactions to either orally or electronically notify the members 
involved in the transaction of their determination. The purpose of the 
proposed electronic notification requirement is to provide notice to 
RROTs engaging in transactions off the Exchange's physical trading 
floor.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51246 (February 24, 
2005), 70 FR 10425 (March 3, 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    viii. 950--ANTE. Rule 950--ANTE (b) currently provides rules for 
priority and parity at the opening. Paragraph (b)(i) specifically 
provides that after the opening, an options specialist acting as 
principal may only retain priority over, or be on parity with, orders 
for the accounts of broker-dealers, but may not retain priority over, 
or be on parity with, off-floor orders for the accounts of public 
customers. The Exchange proposes to amend 950--ANTE (b)(i) to identify 
RROTs as broker-dealers. Commentary .01 of paragraph (c) currently 
provides that after the opening, an options specialist acting as 
principal, may only retain priority over or be on parity with orders 
for the accounts of broker-dealers but may not retain priority over or 
be on parity with off-floor orders for the accounts of public 
customers. Commentary .02 of paragraph (c) provides that options orders 
for the accounts of broker-dealers may only retain priority over or be 
on parity with orders for the accounts of broker-dealers but may not 
retain priority over or be on parity with off-floor orders for the 
accounts of public customers. The proposed amendments to Commentaries 
.01 and .02 of paragraph (c) also categorize an RROT as a broker-
dealer. Finally, the proposed amendment to Commentary .02 of paragraph 
(l) will require RROTs to compete with one another to improve the 
quoted markets in all series of option classes in which they trade.
    ix. 951--ANTE. Rule 951--ANTE currently governs the bids and offers 
of options contracts. Commentary .01 to Rule 951--ANTE provides that if 
the bid or offer of a specialist or ROT, locks or crosses the ABBO, the 
ANTE System will revise the bid by one or more minimum price variations 
lower than the bid submitted, or revise the offer by one or more 
minimum price variations higher than the offer submitted, so that the 
bid or offer submitted does not lock or cross the ABBO provided.\9\ The 
Exchange proposes to amend Commentary .01 to Rule 951--ANTE to apply to 
RROTs.
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    \9\ The ANTE System collects all of the quotes being calculated 
by the specialist and each ROT, and determines the best bid and best 
offer for dissemination pursuant to the firm quote rule, as the Amex 
Best Bid and Offer (``ABBO''). The ANTE System never allows a locked 
or crossed market to occur in the ABBO. If a quote is submitted that 
would lock or cross the ABBO, the ANTE System will revise the bid or 
the offer by the minimum price variant(s) so that the ABBO is not 
locked or crossed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    x. 958--ANTE. Rule 958--ANTE governs ANTE options transactions of 
registered options traders. Pursuant to 958--ANTE (a), ROTs are 
assigned classes of options in accordance with the existing procedures 
set forth in Commentary .05. Rule 958--ANTE (a) also provides that any 
option transactions initiated by a ROT on the Floor and through the 
facilities of the Exchange for any account in which the ROT has an 
interest would be in such assigned classes. Paragraph (b) of Rule 958--
ANTE provides that transactions of a ROT must be reasonably calculated 
to contribute to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market, and no 
ROT should enter into transactions or make bids or offers that are 
inconsistent with such a course of dealings. Paragraph (c) of Rule 
958--ANTE provides that whenever ROTs participate in the trading of 
options in other than a floor brokerage capacity, or are called upon by 
a floor official or floor broker acting in an agency capacity, they 
would be required to make competitive bids and offers necessary, in a 
market making capacity, to contribute to the maintenance of a fair and 
orderly market. The Exchange proposes to apply paragraphs (a), (b) and 
(c) of 958--ANTE to RROTs as they currently apply to ROTs.
    Paragraph (h) currently provides that ROTs may choose to use an 
Exchange provided or proprietary automated quote system to calculate 
and disseminate quotes, or join the specialist's disseminated quotation 
in some or all of his assigned classes or series. Paragraph (h) further 
provides that ROTs must be physically present at the specialist's post 
on the floor of the Exchange where that options class is traded.

[[Page 7087]]

    Under the Exchange's proposal, RROTs would also use an authorized 
or proprietary automated quote system to calculate and disseminate 
quotes. RROTs may not use the ``join quote'' feature in ANTE. The 
Exchange believes that requiring RROTs to submit their own quotes in 
options that an RROT is assigned will serve to further foster active 
quote competition. Finally, the Exchange proposes that RROTs, as well 
as ROTs and specialists, must compete with each other to improve the 
quoted markets in all series of option classes which they trade. The 
Exchange further proposes to remove the in-person requirement for RROTs 
as provided in paragraph (h) because the RROT may not be physically 
present.
    xi. 958A--ANTE. Rule 958A--ANTE, the Exchange's Firm Quote Rule, 
currently provides that ROTs, when inputting their own quotes through 
an Exchange provided or proprietary automated quote calculation system, 
would each be considered a responsible broker or dealer for their bids 
or offers to the extent of their quotation size. The Exchange proposes 
to amend Rule 958A--ANTE (a)(ii)(C) to include RROTs as responsible 
broker-dealers to the extent of their quotation size for the purposes 
of this rule.
2. Statutory Basis
    The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change, as amended, is 
consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,\10\ in general, and furthers 
the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,\11\ in particular, in 
that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and 
practices, to promote just and equitable principals of trade, and, in 
general, to protect investors and the public interest.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).
    \11\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will impose no 
burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in 
furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

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

    No written comments were solicited or received by the Exchange on 
this proposal.

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

    Within 35 days of the date of publication of this notice in the 
Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may 
designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to 
be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to 
which the Exchange consents, the Commission will:
    (A) By order approve such proposed rule change, as amended, or
    (B) Institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule 
change, as amended, 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, as amended, is consistent with the Act. Comments may be 
submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

     Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://
www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or
     Send an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov. Please include 
File Number SR-Amex-2005-100 on the subject line.

Paper Comments

     Send paper comments in triplicate to Nancy M. Morris, 
Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, Station Place, 100 F 
Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.
    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Amex-2005-100. This 
file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail 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 inspection 
and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Section, Station 
Place, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549. Copies of such filing 
also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal 
office of the Amex. 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-Amex-2005-100 and should be submitted on or before March 3, 2006.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, 
pursuant to delegated authority.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).
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Nancy M. Morris,
Secretary.
 [FR Doc. E6-1832 Filed 2-9-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P