Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rules To Require Listed Companies To Make Securities Eligible for the Direct Registration System, 13546-13547 [E7-5191]

Download as PDF 13546 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 55 / Thursday, March 22, 2007 / Notices SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–55481; File No. SR–CHX– 2006–33] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rules To Require Listed Companies To Make Securities Eligible for the Direct Registration System March 15, 2007. I. Introduction On October 30, 2006, the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc. (‘‘CHX’’) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’) proposed rule change SR–CHX–2006–33 pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (‘‘Act’’).1 Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register; on December 7, 2006.2 No comment letters were received. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is granting approval of the proposed rule change.3 II. Description The Direct Registration System (‘‘DRS’’) allows an investor to establish either through the issuer’s transfer agent or through the investor’s broker-dealer a book-entry position on the books of the issuer and to electronically transfer her position between the transfer agent and the broker-dealer of her choice through a facility currently administered by The Depository Trust Company (‘‘DTC’’).4 1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1). Exchange Act Release No. 54833 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71004 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR–CHX–2006–33]. 3 Concurrent with this order, the Commission is approving similar rule changes submitted by the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc., and Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 54832 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71000 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR–BSE–2006– 46] and 54834 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71013 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR–Phlx–2006–69]. The Commission has also granted approval to similar rule changes submitted by the New York Stock Exchange LLC (‘‘NYSE’’), American Stock Exchange LLC (‘‘Amex’’), The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (‘‘Nasdaq’’), and the NYSE Arca, Inc. (‘‘NYSE Arca’’). Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 54289 (August 8, 2006), 71 FR 47278 (August 16, 2006) [File No. SR–NYSE–2006–29]; 54290 (August 8, 2006), 71 FR 47262 (August 16, 2006) [File No. SR–Amex–2006–40]; 54288 (August 8, 2006), 71 FR 47276 (August 16, 2006) [File No. SR– NASDAQ–2006–08]; 54410 (September 7, 2006), 71 FR 54316 (September 14, 2006) [File No. SR–NYSE Arca–2006–31]. 4 Currently, the only registered clearing agency operating a DRS is DTC. For a detailed description of DRS and the DRS facilities administered by DTC, see Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 37931 (November 7, 1996), 61 FR 58600 (November 15, 1996), [File No. SR–DTC–96–15] (order granting approval to establish DRS) and 41862 (September rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 2 Securities VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:11 Mar 21, 2007 Jkt 211001 DRS, therefore, enables an investor to have securities registered in her name on the books of the issuer without having a securities certificate issued to her and to electronically transfer her securities to her broker-dealer in order to effect a transaction without the risk, expenses, and delays associated with the use of securities certificates. Investors holding their securities in DRS retain the rights associated with securities certificates, including such rights as control of ownership and voting rights, without having the responsibility of holding and safeguarding securities certificates. In addition, in corporate actions such as reverse stock splits and mergers, cancellation of old shares and issuance of new shares are handled electronically with no securities certificates to be returned to or received from the transfer agent. To reduce the number of transactions in securities for which settlement is effected by the physical delivery of securities certificates to and reduce the risks, costs, and delays associated with the physical processing of securities certificates, the CHX is amending its listing standards by adding paragraph (h) to Rule 1 5 that would require certain issuers to make their securities eligible for DRS. As amended, the new rule would require that any security initially listing on CHX on or after January 1, 2007, must be eligible for a DRS that is operated by a securities depository.6 This requirement, however, would not extend to i) securities of companies which already have securities listed on CHX, ii) securities of companies which immediately prior to such listing had securities listed on another national securities exchange, iii) derivative products, or iv) securities (other than stocks) which are book-entry only. Under the rule, on and after January 1, 2008, all securities listed on CHX must be eligible for a DRS that is operated by a securities depository.7 CHX understands that issuers and transfer agents may incur initial costs when making an issue DRS-eligible. As an initial matter, the issuer must have a transfer agent that is a DRS Limited 10, 1999), 64 FR 51162 (September 21, 1999), [File No. SR–DTC–99–16] (order approving implementation of the Profile Modification System). 5 The exact text of the CHX proposed rule change is set forth in its filing, which can be found at http://www.chx.com/rules/proposed_rules.htm. 6 Under the proposed rule, a ‘‘securities depository’’ would mean a securities depository registered as a clearing agency under Section 17A(b)(2) of the Act. 7 Securities (other than stock) that are book-entryonly and derivative products would continue to be excluded from the DRS requirement. PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Participant.8 Transfer agents will need to meet certain DTC criteria, such as insurance and connectivity requirements in order to become DRS Limited Participants and an issuer’s corporate documents, such as its bylaws or corporate charters, may need to be amended to permit the issuance of bookentry shares. CHX believes that the proposed deadlines as set forth above would allow issuers and transfer agents an appropriate amount of time to meet applicable requirements. III. Discussion Section 6(b)(5) of the Act requires, among other things, that the rules of an exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and in general to protect investors and the public interest.9 For the reasons described below, the Commission finds that CHX’s rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act. The use of securities certificates has long been identified as an inefficient and risk-laden mechanism by which to hold and transfer ownership.10 Because securities certificates require manual processing, their use can result in significant delays and expenses in processing securities transactions and presents the risk of certificates being lost or stolen. Many of these costs and risks are ultimately borne by investors.11 Congress has recognized the problems and dangers that the use of certificates presents to the safe and efficient operation of the U.S. clearance and settlement system and has given the Commission the responsibility and the authority to address these issues.12 8 DTC’s rules require that a transfer agent (including an issuer acting as its own transfer agent) acting for a company issuing securities in DRS must be a DRS Limited Participant. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 37931 (November 7, 1996), 61 FR 58600 (November 15, 1996), [File No. SR–DTC–96– 15]. 9 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5). 10 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 49405 (March 11, 2004), 69 FR 12922 (March 18, 2004), [File No. S7–13–04] (Securities Transaction Settlement Concept Release). 11 Id. 12 5 U.S.C. 78q–1(a)(2)(A). Congress expressly envisioned the Commission’s authority to extend to all aspects of the securities handling process of securities transactions within the United States, including activities by clearing agencies, depositories, corporate issuers, and transfer agents. E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM 22MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 55 / Thursday, March 22, 2007 / Notices rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Consistent with its Congressional directives and in its efforts to improve efficiencies and decrease risks associated with processing securities transactions, the Commission has long advocated a reduction in the use of certificates in the trading environment by immobilization or dematerialization of securities and has encouraged the use of alternatives to holding securities in certificated form. Among other things, the Commission has approved the rule filings of self-regulatory organizations that require their members to use the facilities of a securities depository for the book-entry settlement of all transactions in depository-eligible securities 13 and that require any security listed for trading must be depository eligible if possible.14 More recently the Commission has approved the implementation and expansion of DRS.15 While the U.S. markets have made great progress in immobilization and dematerialization for institutional and broker-to-broker transactions, many industry representatives believe that the small percentage of securities held in certificated form (held mostly by retail See S. Rep. No. 75, 94th Cong., 1st Sess. at 55 (1975). 13 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 32455 (June 11, 1993), 58 FR 33679 (June 18, 1993) (order approving rules requiring members, member organizations, and affiliated members of the New York Stock Exchange, National Association of Securities Dealers, American Stock Exchange, Midwest Stock Exchange, Boston Stock Exchange, Pacific Stock Exchange, and Philadelphia Stock Exchange to use the facilities of a securities depository for the book-entry settlement of all transactions in depository-eligible securities with another financial intermediary). 14 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 35798 (June 1, 1995), 60 FR 30909 (June 12, 1995), [File Nos. SR–Amex–95–17; SR–BSE–95–09; SR–CHX– 95–12; SR–NASD–95–24; SR–NYSE–95–19; SR– PSE–95–14; SR–Phlx–95–34] (order approving rules setting forth depository eligibility requirements for issuers seeking to have their shares listed on the exchange). 15 In 1996, the NYSE modified its listing criteria to permit listed companies to issue securities in book-entry form provided that the issue is included in DRS. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 37937 (November 8, 1996), 61 FR 58728 (November 18, 1996), [File No. SR–NYSE–96–29]. Similarly, the NASD modified its rule to require that if an issuer establishes a direct registration program, it must participate in an electronic link with a securities depository in order to facilitate the electronic transfer of the issue. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 39369 (November 26, 1997), 62 FR 64034 (December 3, 1997), [File No. SR–97–51]. On July 30, 2002, the Commission approved a rule change proposed by the NYSE to amend NYSE Section 501.01 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual to allow a listed company to issue securities in a dematerialized or completely immobilized form and therefore not send stock certificates to record holders provided the company’s stock is issued pursuant to a dividend reinvestment program or a stock purchase plan or is included in a DRS. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46282 (July 30, 2002), 67 FR 50972 (August 6, 2002), [File No. SR–NYSE–2001–33]. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:11 Mar 21, 2007 Jkt 211001 investors) impose unnecessary risk and disproportionately large expense to the industry and to investors. In an attempt to help address this issue, CHX’s rule change, along with those of the NYSE, Amex, Nasdaq, NYSE Arca, BSE, and Phlx, should help expand the use of DRS. As a result, risks, costs, and processing inefficiencies associated with the use of securities certificates should be reduced, and impediments to the perfection of the national market system should be removed. Additionally, those investors holding securities in listed securities certificates covered by the rule change that decide to hold their securities in DRS should realize the benefits of more accurate, quicker, and more cost-efficient transfers; faster distribution of sale proceeds; reduced number of lost or stolen certificates and a reduction in the associated certificate replacement costs; and consistency of owning in bookentry across asset classes. The Commission realizes that some issuers and transfer agents may bear expenses related to complying with the rule change. In order to make an issue DRS-eligible, issuers of listed companies must have a transfer agent which is a DRS Limited Participants and may need to amend their corporate governing documents to permit the issuance of book-entry shares. The Commission believes, however, that the long-term benefits of increased efficiencies and reduced costs and risks afforded by DRS outweigh the costs that some issuers and transfer agents may incur. Furthermore, the time frames built into the proposal should allow issuers and their transfer agents sufficient time to make any necessary changes to comply with the rule change. While the rule change should significantly reduce the number of transactions in securities for which settlement is effected by the physical delivery of securities certificates, it will not eliminate the ability of investors to obtain securities certificates provided the issuer has chosen to issue certificates. Such investors can continue to contact the issuer’s transfer agent, either directly or through their brokerdealer, to obtain a securities certificate. Accordingly, for the reasons stated above the Commission finds that the rule change is consistent with CHX’s obligation under Section 6(b) of the Act to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and in PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13547 general to protect investors and the public interest.16 IV. Conclusion On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and in particular with the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder. It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (File No. SR–CHX–2006–33) be and hereby is approved. For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.17 Florence E. Harmon, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. E7–5191 Filed 3–21–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8010–01–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–55482; File No. SR–Phlx– 2006–69] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc.; Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rules Relating to the Direct Registration System March 15, 2007. I. Introduction On October 31, 2006, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (‘‘Phlx’’) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’) and on November 14, 2006, amended proposed rule change SR–Phlx–2006–69 pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (‘‘Act’’).1 Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2006.2 No comment letters were received. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is granting approval of the proposed rule change.3 16 In approving the proposed rule change, the Commission considered the proposal’s impact on the efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f). 17 17 CFR 200.30–3(a)(12). 1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1). 2 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 54834 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71013 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR–Phlx–2006–69]. 3 Concurrent with this order, the Commission is approving similar rule changes submitted by the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc., and Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc. Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 54832 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71000 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR–BSE–2006–46] and 54833 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71004 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR–CHX–2006–33]. E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM Continued 22MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 55 (Thursday, March 22, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13546-13547]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-5191]



[[Page 13546]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

[Release No. 34-55481; File No. SR-CHX-2006-33]


Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; 
Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rules To 
Require Listed Companies To Make Securities Eligible for the Direct 
Registration System

March 15, 2007.

I. Introduction

    On October 30, 2006, the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc. (``CHX'') 
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (``Commission'') 
proposed rule change SR-CHX-2006-33 pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the 
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (``Act'').\1\ Notice of the proposal 
was published in the Federal Register; on December 7, 2006.\2\ No 
comment letters were received. For the reasons discussed below, the 
Commission is granting approval of the proposed rule change.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).
    \2\ Securities Exchange Act Release No. 54833 (November 29, 
2006), 71 FR 71004 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR-CHX-2006-33].
    \3\ Concurrent with this order, the Commission is approving 
similar rule changes submitted by the Boston Stock Exchange, Inc., 
and Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. Securities Exchange Act 
Release Nos. 54832 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 71000 (December 7, 
2006) [File No. SR-BSE-2006-46] and 54834 (November 29, 2006), 71 FR 
71013 (December 7, 2006) [File No. SR-Phlx-2006-69]. The Commission 
has also granted approval to similar rule changes submitted by the 
New York Stock Exchange LLC (``NYSE''), American Stock Exchange LLC 
(``Amex''), The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (``Nasdaq''), and the NYSE 
Arca, Inc. (``NYSE Arca''). Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 
54289 (August 8, 2006), 71 FR 47278 (August 16, 2006) [File No. SR-
NYSE-2006-29]; 54290 (August 8, 2006), 71 FR 47262 (August 16, 2006) 
[File No. SR-Amex-2006-40]; 54288 (August 8, 2006), 71 FR 47276 
(August 16, 2006) [File No. SR-NASDAQ-2006-08]; 54410 (September 7, 
2006), 71 FR 54316 (September 14, 2006) [File No. SR-NYSE Arca-2006-
31].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Description

    The Direct Registration System (``DRS'') allows an investor to 
establish either through the issuer's transfer agent or through the 
investor's broker-dealer a book-entry position on the books of the 
issuer and to electronically transfer her position between the transfer 
agent and the broker-dealer of her choice through a facility currently 
administered by The Depository Trust Company (``DTC'').\4\ DRS, 
therefore, enables an investor to have securities registered in her 
name on the books of the issuer without having a securities certificate 
issued to her and to electronically transfer her securities to her 
broker-dealer in order to effect a transaction without the risk, 
expenses, and delays associated with the use of securities 
certificates.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Currently, the only registered clearing agency operating a 
DRS is DTC. For a detailed description of DRS and the DRS facilities 
administered by DTC, see Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 37931 
(November 7, 1996), 61 FR 58600 (November 15, 1996), [File No. SR-
DTC-96-15] (order granting approval to establish DRS) and 41862 
(September 10, 1999), 64 FR 51162 (September 21, 1999), [File No. 
SR-DTC-99-16] (order approving implementation of the Profile 
Modification System).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Investors holding their securities in DRS retain the rights 
associated with securities certificates, including such rights as 
control of ownership and voting rights, without having the 
responsibility of holding and safeguarding securities certificates. In 
addition, in corporate actions such as reverse stock splits and 
mergers, cancellation of old shares and issuance of new shares are 
handled electronically with no securities certificates to be returned 
to or received from the transfer agent.
    To reduce the number of transactions in securities for which 
settlement is effected by the physical delivery of securities 
certificates to and reduce the risks, costs, and delays associated with 
the physical processing of securities certificates, the CHX is amending 
its listing standards by adding paragraph (h) to Rule 1 \5\ that would 
require certain issuers to make their securities eligible for DRS. As 
amended, the new rule would require that any security initially listing 
on CHX on or after January 1, 2007, must be eligible for a DRS that is 
operated by a securities depository.\6\ This requirement, however, 
would not extend to i) securities of companies which already have 
securities listed on CHX, ii) securities of companies which immediately 
prior to such listing had securities listed on another national 
securities exchange, iii) derivative products, or iv) securities (other 
than stocks) which are book-entry only. Under the rule, on and after 
January 1, 2008, all securities listed on CHX must be eligible for a 
DRS that is operated by a securities depository.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ The exact text of the CHX proposed rule change is set forth 
in its filing, which can be found at http://www.chx.com/rules/
proposed_rules.htm.
    \6\ Under the proposed rule, a ``securities depository'' would 
mean a securities depository registered as a clearing agency under 
Section 17A(b)(2) of the Act.
    \7\ Securities (other than stock) that are book-entry-only and 
derivative products would continue to be excluded from the DRS 
requirement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CHX understands that issuers and transfer agents may incur initial 
costs when making an issue DRS-eligible. As an initial matter, the 
issuer must have a transfer agent that is a DRS Limited Participant.\8\ 
Transfer agents will need to meet certain DTC criteria, such as 
insurance and connectivity requirements in order to become DRS Limited 
Participants and an issuer's corporate documents, such as its bylaws or 
corporate charters, may need to be amended to permit the issuance of 
book-entry shares. CHX believes that the proposed deadlines as set 
forth above would allow issuers and transfer agents an appropriate 
amount of time to meet applicable requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ DTC's rules require that a transfer agent (including an 
issuer acting as its own transfer agent) acting for a company 
issuing securities in DRS must be a DRS Limited Participant. 
Securities Exchange Act Release No. 37931 (November 7, 1996), 61 FR 
58600 (November 15, 1996), [File No. SR-DTC-96-15].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Discussion

    Section 6(b)(5) of the Act requires, among other things, that the 
rules of an exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative 
acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, 
to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in 
regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, 
and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to 
perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market 
system, and in general to protect investors and the public interest.\9\ 
For the reasons described below, the Commission finds that CHX's rule 
change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The use of securities certificates has long been identified as an 
inefficient and risk-laden mechanism by which to hold and transfer 
ownership.\10\ Because securities certificates require manual 
processing, their use can result in significant delays and expenses in 
processing securities transactions and presents the risk of 
certificates being lost or stolen. Many of these costs and risks are 
ultimately borne by investors.\11\ Congress has recognized the problems 
and dangers that the use of certificates presents to the safe and 
efficient operation of the U.S. clearance and settlement system and has 
given the Commission the responsibility and the authority to address 
these issues.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Securities Exchange Act Release No. 49405 (March 11, 2004), 
69 FR 12922 (March 18, 2004), [File No. S7-13-04] (Securities 
Transaction Settlement Concept Release).
    \11\ Id.
    \12\ 5 U.S.C. 78q-1(a)(2)(A). Congress expressly envisioned the 
Commission's authority to extend to all aspects of the securities 
handling process of securities transactions within the United 
States, including activities by clearing agencies, depositories, 
corporate issuers, and transfer agents. See S. Rep. No. 75, 94th 
Cong., 1st Sess. at 55 (1975).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 13547]]

    Consistent with its Congressional directives and in its efforts to 
improve efficiencies and decrease risks associated with processing 
securities transactions, the Commission has long advocated a reduction 
in the use of certificates in the trading environment by immobilization 
or dematerialization of securities and has encouraged the use of 
alternatives to holding securities in certificated form. Among other 
things, the Commission has approved the rule filings of self-regulatory 
organizations that require their members to use the facilities of a 
securities depository for the book-entry settlement of all transactions 
in depository-eligible securities \13\ and that require any security 
listed for trading must be depository eligible if possible.\14\ More 
recently the Commission has approved the implementation and expansion 
of DRS.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Securities Exchange Act Release No. 32455 (June 11, 1993), 
58 FR 33679 (June 18, 1993) (order approving rules requiring 
members, member organizations, and affiliated members of the New 
York Stock Exchange, National Association of Securities Dealers, 
American Stock Exchange, Midwest Stock Exchange, Boston Stock 
Exchange, Pacific Stock Exchange, and Philadelphia Stock Exchange to 
use the facilities of a securities depository for the book-entry 
settlement of all transactions in depository-eligible securities 
with another financial intermediary).
    \14\ Securities Exchange Act Release No. 35798 (June 1, 1995), 
60 FR 30909 (June 12, 1995), [File Nos. SR-Amex-95-17; SR-BSE-95-09; 
SR-CHX-95-12; SR-NASD-95-24; SR-NYSE-95-19; SR-PSE-95-14; SR-Phlx-
95-34] (order approving rules setting forth depository eligibility 
requirements for issuers seeking to have their shares listed on the 
exchange).
    \15\ In 1996, the NYSE modified its listing criteria to permit 
listed companies to issue securities in book-entry form provided 
that the issue is included in DRS. Securities Exchange Act Release 
No. 37937 (November 8, 1996), 61 FR 58728 (November 18, 1996), [File 
No. SR-NYSE-96-29]. Similarly, the NASD modified its rule to require 
that if an issuer establishes a direct registration program, it must 
participate in an electronic link with a securities depository in 
order to facilitate the electronic transfer of the issue. Securities 
Exchange Act Release No. 39369 (November 26, 1997), 62 FR 64034 
(December 3, 1997), [File No. SR-97-51]. On July 30, 2002, the 
Commission approved a rule change proposed by the NYSE to amend NYSE 
Section 501.01 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual to allow a listed 
company to issue securities in a dematerialized or completely 
immobilized form and therefore not send stock certificates to record 
holders provided the company's stock is issued pursuant to a 
dividend reinvestment program or a stock purchase plan or is 
included in a DRS. Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46282 (July 
30, 2002), 67 FR 50972 (August 6, 2002), [File No. SR-NYSE-2001-33].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While the U.S. markets have made great progress in immobilization 
and dematerialization for institutional and broker-to-broker 
transactions, many industry representatives believe that the small 
percentage of securities held in certificated form (held mostly by 
retail investors) impose unnecessary risk and disproportionately large 
expense to the industry and to investors. In an attempt to help address 
this issue, CHX's rule change, along with those of the NYSE, Amex, 
Nasdaq, NYSE Arca, BSE, and Phlx, should help expand the use of DRS. As 
a result, risks, costs, and processing inefficiencies associated with 
the use of securities certificates should be reduced, and impediments 
to the perfection of the national market system should be removed. 
Additionally, those investors holding securities in listed securities 
certificates covered by the rule change that decide to hold their 
securities in DRS should realize the benefits of more accurate, 
quicker, and more cost-efficient transfers; faster distribution of sale 
proceeds; reduced number of lost or stolen certificates and a reduction 
in the associated certificate replacement costs; and consistency of 
owning in book-entry across asset classes.
    The Commission realizes that some issuers and transfer agents may 
bear expenses related to complying with the rule change. In order to 
make an issue DRS-eligible, issuers of listed companies must have a 
transfer agent which is a DRS Limited Participants and may need to 
amend their corporate governing documents to permit the issuance of 
book-entry shares. The Commission believes, however, that the long-term 
benefits of increased efficiencies and reduced costs and risks afforded 
by DRS outweigh the costs that some issuers and transfer agents may 
incur. Furthermore, the time frames built into the proposal should 
allow issuers and their transfer agents sufficient time to make any 
necessary changes to comply with the rule change.
    While the rule change should significantly reduce the number of 
transactions in securities for which settlement is effected by the 
physical delivery of securities certificates, it will not eliminate the 
ability of investors to obtain securities certificates provided the 
issuer has chosen to issue certificates. Such investors can continue to 
contact the issuer's transfer agent, either directly or through their 
broker-dealer, to obtain a securities certificate. Accordingly, for the 
reasons stated above the Commission finds that the rule change is 
consistent with CHX's obligation under Section 6(b) of the Act to 
foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, 
clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and 
facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to 
perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market 
system, and in general to protect investors and the public 
interest.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ In approving the proposed rule change, the Commission 
considered the proposal's impact on the efficiency, competition, and 
capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Conclusion

    On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that the 
proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and 
in particular with the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act and 
the rules and regulations thereunder. It is therefore ordered, pursuant 
to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (File No. 
SR-CHX-2006-33) be and hereby is approved.

    For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, 
pursuant to delegated authority.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Florence E. Harmon,
Deputy Secretary.
 [FR Doc. E7-5191 Filed 3-21-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P