Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Establish a Riskless Principal and Other Exceptions to Amex Rules Prohibiting Members' Proprietary Trading While in Possession of Like or Better-Priced Customer Orders, 68911-68913 [E7-23593]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2007 / Notices BILLING CODE 8011–01–P Customers’ Orders,’’ 151—AEMI, ‘‘Purchases and Sales While Holding Unexecuted Market Order,’’ and 152— AEMI, ‘‘Taking or Supplying Stock to Fill Customer’s Order,’’ to: (i) provide for a ‘‘riskless principal’’ and other exceptions to the Amex’s general rules against members entering proprietary orders while in possession of a customer order that could trade at the same price; and (ii) make various ‘‘housekeeping’’ changes to eliminate duplicative or unnecessary portions of the AEMI rules. The text of the proposed rule change is available at http://www.amex.com, the principal offices of the Amex, and the Commission’s Public Reference Room. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION II. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change the principal office of the Exchange. 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–2007–127 and should be submitted on or before December 27, 2007. For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.15 Florence E. Harmon, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. E7–23589 Filed 12–5–07; 8:45 am] [Release No. 34–56868; File No. SR–Amex– 2007–125] Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Establish a Riskless Principal and Other Exceptions to Amex Rules Prohibiting Members’ Proprietary Trading While in Possession of Like or Better-Priced Customer Orders November 29, 2007. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 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 November 16, 2007, 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 and II below, which Items have been prepared substantially by the Amex. The Amex has submitted the proposed rule change under section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act 3 and Rule 19b– 4(f)(6) thereunder,4 which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons. I. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change The Amex proposes to adopt changes to Rules 24—AEMI, ‘‘Limitations on Members’ Trading Because of 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)(6). 1 15 18:57 Dec 05, 2007 A. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose To provide greater flexibility in trading methods available on the Amex, while still sufficiently protecting customer orders, the Amex proposes to adopt a ‘‘riskless principal’’ and other exceptions detailed below to its general rules against a member entering a proprietary order while in possession of a customer order that could trade at the same price. These new exceptions, which are the same as those adopted by the New York Stock Exchange LLC (‘‘NYSE’’) in July 2007,5 will be added to Rule 24—AEMI (which is the Amex equivalent of NYSE Rule 92, ‘‘Limitations on Members’ Trading Because of Customers’ Orders’’) and will promote regulatory consistency. Additionally, the Amex proposes to make certain housekeeping changes occasioned by the changes to Rule 24— AEMI. Among other things, the Amex 5 See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 56017 (July 5, 2007), 72 FR 38110 (July 12, 2007) (order approving File No. SR–NYSE–2007–21); and 56088 (July 18, 2007), 72 FR 40351 (July 24, 2007) (notice of filing and immediate effectiveness of File No. SR–NYSE–2007–63). 15 17 VerDate Aug<31>2005 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. Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68911 proposes to: (i) Eliminate Rule 150— AEMI, which substantially overlaps with and is being folded into Rule 24— AEMI; and (ii) add a riskless principal exception to the general restrictions in Rule 152—AEMI against a member supplying/taking stock to fill a customer’s order. Riskless Principal Exception and Other Changes to Rule 24—AEMI Rule 24—AEMI is substantially and structurally similar to the version of NYSE Rule 92 that existed until the NYSE amended its rule in July 2007.6 In relevant part, the Amex intends to adopt the substance of those NYSE amendments to: • Add a ‘‘riskless principal’’ exception that would allow a member to trade a security as principal while holding one or more customer orders in the security to permit the member to pass on to its customer(s) the prices received on the Exchange; 7 • Amend certain customer consent requirements to allow a customer to give affirmative prior blanket—rather than order-by-order—consent to a member trading while in possession of a customer order, as permitted by the rule, provided that the requisite disclosures to the customer regarding potential trading-along, opt-out rights, and allocation methodology are periodically made 8 and such informed 6 See note 5, supra. member would be permitted to aggregate only those customer orders where the order types and instructions (including tick restrictions) permit such aggregation. Such aggregating meets the standards set forth in the July 18, 2005, no-action letter from the Division of Trading and Markets (‘‘Division’’) (f/k/a the Division of Market Regulation) to the Securities Industry Association (‘‘SIA’’), in which the Division granted a riskless principal exemption from Rule 10a–1 under the Act to permit a broker-dealer to fill a customer order without complying with the ‘‘tick’’ provisions of Rule 10a–1, in certain situations and subject to certain conditions. See letter from James Brigagliano, Assistant Director, Division, Commission, to Ira Hammerman, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, SIA, dated July 18, 2005. 8 The required periodic disclosures would include affirmative notice of: (i) the fact that the member may trade along with the customer’s order, subject to the customer’s right to affirmatively optout of such trading-along on an order-by-order basis or to modify the instructions obtained under the blanket consent; and (ii) the method by which the member organization will allocate shares to the customer’s order (including the allocation methodology for riskless principal transactions that include Rule 24—AEMI(b) proprietary orders and orders from customers that have and/or have not consented to trade along with such proprietary orders). The Exchange would not require a specific allocation methodology (e.g., strict time priority, precedence based on size, etc.), but would require it to be fair and reasonable, consistently applied, consistent with the rules governing parity of orders, and not unfairly discriminatory against any particular class of accounts or types of orders. 7A E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 68912 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2007 / Notices customer consent has been documented; 9 • Expand the class of customers eligible to give affirmative consent from institutional investors with 10,000-share orders or more to all institutional investors and individual investors with orders of 10,000 shares (worth at least $100,000) or more; and • Add an exception which would permit specialists to trade proprietarily ahead of held customer orders 21⁄2 hours after the close of regular trading and up to 15 minutes prior to the following trading day’s opening, thereby better allowing the specialists to hedge their trading risk and bring their dealer accounts in line with trading in away markets. According to the Amex, these changes will serve to harmonize Rule 24—AEMI with the guidelines of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (‘‘FINRA,’’ f/k/a NASD) on members trading while in possession of customer orders, commonly known as the ‘‘Manning Rule,’’ 10 so as to provide a more consistent regulatory environment for broker-dealers. The Amex intends to make the same amendments in substance to its Rule 24—AEMI as the NYSE made to its Rule 92, with slight differences discussed below. New NYSE Rule 92(c)(3) requires, among other things, that in order to avail itself of the riskless principal transaction: A member must submit a report of execution of the facilitated order to a designated Exchange database as required by NYSE Rule 123(f). The member must also submit to the same database, within such time frame and in such format as the Exchange may from time to time require, an electronic report containing data elements sufficient to provide an electronic link of the execution of the facilitated order to all of the underlying orders. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES The referenced ‘‘Exchange database’’ is the NYSE’s Front End Systemic Capture (‘‘FESC’’) database. The Amex does not have a database that is able to capture order and execution data with respect to riskless principal transactions in the same manner as FESC. 9 Acceptable documentation of customer consent following delivery of the required disclosures would be: (i) A signed writing from the customer that acknowledges receipt of the required disclosures and provides consent; or (ii) in the case of oral customer consent, by a written notice from the member sent to the customer documenting the provision of such required disclosures and such oral consent. Once a customer has provided affirmative consent and so long the firm continues to provide written disclosures on a periodic basis, the firm will not need to renew such affirmative consent. 10 See FINRA IM 2110–2 and FINRA Rule 2111. VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:57 Dec 05, 2007 Jkt 214001 Accordingly, the Amex’s regulatory staff will need to surveil for proper use of the new riskless principal exemption simultaneous with general surveillance of transactions where members trade ahead of customers orders under preexisting exceptions to Rule 24—AEMI. Should a transaction appear to be a riskless principal transaction, Amex Regulation will validate that all elements required by the exception are met by requesting and reviewing supporting documentation from the members involved, rather than automatically surveilling for violations as the NYSE is presumably able to do with its FESC system. Accordingly, because technological differences require the development of a slightly different audit trail, Amex’s corresponding paragraph in Rule 24— AEMI will state: A member or member organization must maintain a contemporaneous record of every execution on a riskless principal basis, which record shall be submitted to the Exchange within such time frame, in such format, and containing such information (in addition to any information required by Rule 153— AEMI) as the Exchange may from time to time require to validate the riskless principal nature of the transaction. Other wording, structural, or grammatical differences between comparable sections of NYSE Rule 92 and Rule 24—AEMI are not intended to create substantive differences and are intended only to add clarity where the Amex thought necessary for its members.11 11 For example, while the NYSE chose to make the riskless principal exception a separate subsection (c) to its Rule 92 (with the remaining exceptions listed in NYSE Rule 92(d)), Amex preferred to list all exceptions—including the riskless principal transaction exception—in the same subsection of its equivalent Rule 24— AEMI(c). For another example, NYSE Rule 92(b) begins: A member or member organization may enter a proprietary order while representing a customer order that could be executed at the same price, provided that the customer’s order is designated not held and is for (i) an institutional account, or (ii) over 10,000 shares, unless such orders are less than $100,000 in value, and the member organization periodically provides written disclosures to its customers and obtains and documents affirmative customer consent, under the following conditions. * * * Comparable Rule 24—AEMI(b), as proposed to be amended, provides: A member or member organization may enter a proprietary order while representing a customer order which could be executed at the same price, provided: (1) The customer’s order is designated not held and is (i) an institutional account, or (ii) over 10,000 shares (unless such orders are less than $100,000 in value); and the member organization has periodically provided written disclosures to such customer of the possibility and allocation PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Housekeeping Changes Existing Rule 24—AEMI substantially overlaps with existing Rule 150—AEMI, in that both rules recite the general prohibitions upon, and exceptions to, an Amex member trading a proprietary order while in possession of a customer order that could be executed at the same price. To eliminate future confusion, the Amex proposes to eliminate Rule 150— AEMI (which is a vestige of pre-AEMI Amex Rule 150) in favor of merging the two rules into Rule 24—AEMI (which was originally patterned after NYSE Rule 92). This will result in three exceptions being added to Rule 24— AEMI, but no substantive expansion of the list of exceptions available preamendment (except as noted above by expanding the exceptions to include the recent changes made to comparable NYSE Rule 92).12 Additionally, Commentary .06 to Rule 24—AEMI will now clarify that the riskless principal exception of new subsection (c)(10) applies only to orders entered from off the floor of the Exchange, and that specialists, in particular, remain bound by Rule 155— AEMI, ‘‘Precedence Accorded to Orders Entrusted to Specialists,’’ which contains no such exception (replacing existing Commentary .06, which deals with the interplay between the nowdefunct Intermarket Trading System Plan and Rule 24—AEMI). Finally, Rule 152—AEMI (originally patterned after NYSE Rule 91), which currently contains the general prohibitions upon, and exceptions to, supplying/taking stock to fill a customer’s order, will be amended to incorporate the new riskless principal transaction exception, as such transactions, by definition, include a member supplying/taking stock to fill a customer’s order.13 methodology of its potential trading along and obtained and documented such customer’s affirmative consent to same; and (2) one of the following conditions exists. * * * 12 Note, however, that the former Rule 150— AEMI(c)(5) exception for a purchase or sale of an exchange-traded fund by a specialist where the specialist is on parity with another broker-dealer order pursuant to the Exchange’s rules (e.g., Rule 126—AEMI) has been incorporated in new Rule 24—AEMI(c)(7) as ‘‘any purchase or sale of any security * * * by a specialist whose bid (offer) is on parity with a customer’s order pursuant to Rule 126—AEMI.’’ The new phrasing more accurately describes the operation and application of Rule 126—AEMI, under which a specialist has been and is permitted to trade on parity with a customer under a variety of circumstances broader than reflected in former Rule 150—AEMI(c)(5). 13 The Amex notes that the NYSE did not so amend its comparable NYSE Rule 91, although it is not clear why. E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2007 / Notices 2. Statutory Basis The proposed rule change is designed to be consistent with Regulation NMS,14 as well as section 6(b) of the Act,15 in general, and furthers the objectives of section 6(b)(5) of the Act,16 in particular, in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. B. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Burden on Competition The Amex believes that the proposed rule change does not impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES C. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others No formal written comments were solicited or received with respect to the proposed rule change itself, but Amex staff have had numerous communications with representatives of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which have requested that the Amex amend its rules to match the recent changes to NYSE Rules 92, as described above. III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action The Amex has designated the proposed rule change as one that: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) does not become operative for 30 days from the date of filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. In addition, as required under Rule 19b–4(f)(6)(iii),17 the Amex provided the Commission with written notice of its intention to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description of the text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to filing the proposal with the Commission. Therefore, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the 14 17 CFR 242.600 et. seq. U.S.C. 78f(b). 16 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5). 17 17 CFR 240.19b–4(f)(6)(iii). 15 15 VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:57 Dec 05, 2007 Jkt 214001 Act 18 and Rule 19b–4(f)(6) thereunder.19 The Amex has requested the Commission to waive the 30-day operative delay because of the commencement of full industry compliance with Rules 610 and 611 of Regulation NMS 20 and the brokerdealer community’s desire to have the riskless principal exception in place at all automated market centers as soon as possible. In addition, the Amex states that the proposed changes are similar to those adopted by the NYSE and do not raise new issues. The Commission hereby grants the Amex’s request 21 and believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because the changes to Rule 24—AEMI are substantially similar to changes adopted previously by the NYSE.22 The remaining changes to Rules 24—AEMI and 152—AEMI, and the elimination of Rule 150—AEMI, are designed to streamline and clarify the Amex’s rules and do not raise new regulatory issues. For these reasons, the Commission designates that the proposed rule change become operative immediately. At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. IV. Solicitation of Comments Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: Electronic Comments • 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–2007–125 on the subject line. U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A). CFR 240.19b–4(f)(6). 20 17 CFR 242.610 and 17 CFR 242.611. 21 For purposes of waiving the 30-day operative delay, the Commission has considered the proposal’s impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f). 22 See note 5, supra. 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–2007–125. 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 Room, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 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 publicly available. All submissions should refer to File Number SR–Amex–2007–125 and should be submitted on or before December 27, 2007. For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.23 Florence E. Harmon, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. E7–23593 Filed 12–5–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011–01–P 18 15 19 17 PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68913 23 17 E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM CFR 200.30–3(a)(12). 06DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 234 (Thursday, December 6, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68911-68913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-23593]


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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

[Release No. 34-56868; File No. SR-Amex-2007-125]


Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; 
Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change 
To Establish a Riskless Principal and Other Exceptions to Amex Rules 
Prohibiting Members' Proprietary Trading While in Possession of Like or 
Better-Priced Customer Orders

November 29, 2007.
    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 November 16, 2007, 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 and 
II below, which Items have been prepared substantially by the Amex. The 
Amex has submitted the proposed rule change under section 19(b)(3)(A) 
of the Act \3\ and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,\4\ which renders the 
proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. The Commission is 
publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change 
from interested persons.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 15 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)(6).
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I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance 
of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Amex proposes to adopt changes to Rules 24--AEMI, ``Limitations 
on Members' Trading Because of Customers' Orders,'' 151--AEMI, 
``Purchases and Sales While Holding Unexecuted Market Order,'' and 
152--AEMI, ``Taking or Supplying Stock to Fill Customer's Order,'' to: 
(i) provide for a ``riskless principal'' and other exceptions to the 
Amex's general rules against members entering proprietary orders while 
in possession of a customer order that could trade at the same price; 
and (ii) make various ``housekeeping'' changes to eliminate duplicative 
or unnecessary portions of the AEMI rules.
    The text of the proposed rule change is available at http://
www.amex.com, the principal offices of the Amex, and 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
    To provide greater flexibility in trading methods available on the 
Amex, while still sufficiently protecting customer orders, the Amex 
proposes to adopt a ``riskless principal'' and other exceptions 
detailed below to its general rules against a member entering a 
proprietary order while in possession of a customer order that could 
trade at the same price. These new exceptions, which are the same as 
those adopted by the New York Stock Exchange LLC (``NYSE'') in July 
2007,\5\ will be added to Rule 24--AEMI (which is the Amex equivalent 
of NYSE Rule 92, ``Limitations on Members' Trading Because of 
Customers' Orders'') and will promote regulatory consistency. 
Additionally, the Amex proposes to make certain housekeeping changes 
occasioned by the changes to Rule 24--AEMI. Among other things, the 
Amex proposes to: (i) Eliminate Rule 150--AEMI, which substantially 
overlaps with and is being folded into Rule 24--AEMI; and (ii) add a 
riskless principal exception to the general restrictions in Rule 152--
AEMI against a member supplying/taking stock to fill a customer's 
order.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 56017 (July 5, 
2007), 72 FR 38110 (July 12, 2007) (order approving File No. SR-
NYSE-2007-21); and 56088 (July 18, 2007), 72 FR 40351 (July 24, 
2007) (notice of filing and immediate effectiveness of File No. SR-
NYSE-2007-63).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Riskless Principal Exception and Other Changes to Rule 24--AEMI
    Rule 24--AEMI is substantially and structurally similar to the 
version of NYSE Rule 92 that existed until the NYSE amended its rule in 
July 2007.\6\ In relevant part, the Amex intends to adopt the substance 
of those NYSE amendments to:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ See note 5, supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Add a ``riskless principal'' exception that would allow a 
member to trade a security as principal while holding one or more 
customer orders in the security to permit the member to pass on to its 
customer(s) the prices received on the Exchange; \7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ A member would be permitted to aggregate only those customer 
orders where the order types and instructions (including tick 
restrictions) permit such aggregation. Such aggregating meets the 
standards set forth in the July 18, 2005, no-action letter from the 
Division of Trading and Markets (``Division'') (f/k/a the Division 
of Market Regulation) to the Securities Industry Association 
(``SIA''), in which the Division granted a riskless principal 
exemption from Rule 10a-1 under the Act to permit a broker-dealer to 
fill a customer order without complying with the ``tick'' provisions 
of Rule 10a-1, in certain situations and subject to certain 
conditions. See letter from James Brigagliano, Assistant Director, 
Division, Commission, to Ira Hammerman, Senior Vice President and 
General Counsel, SIA, dated July 18, 2005.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Amend certain customer consent requirements to allow a 
customer to give affirmative prior blanket--rather than order-by-
order--consent to a member trading while in possession of a customer 
order, as permitted by the rule, provided that the requisite 
disclosures to the customer regarding potential trading-along, opt-out 
rights, and allocation methodology are periodically made \8\ and such 
informed

[[Page 68912]]

customer consent has been documented; \9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ The required periodic disclosures would include affirmative 
notice of: (i) the fact that the member may trade along with the 
customer's order, subject to the customer's right to affirmatively 
opt-out of such trading-along on an order-by-order basis or to 
modify the instructions obtained under the blanket consent; and (ii) 
the method by which the member organization will allocate shares to 
the customer's order (including the allocation methodology for 
riskless principal transactions that include Rule 24--AEMI(b) 
proprietary orders and orders from customers that have and/or have 
not consented to trade along with such proprietary orders). The 
Exchange would not require a specific allocation methodology (e.g., 
strict time priority, precedence based on size, etc.), but would 
require it to be fair and reasonable, consistently applied, 
consistent with the rules governing parity of orders, and not 
unfairly discriminatory against any particular class of accounts or 
types of orders.
    \9\ Acceptable documentation of customer consent following 
delivery of the required disclosures would be: (i) A signed writing 
from the customer that acknowledges receipt of the required 
disclosures and provides consent; or (ii) in the case of oral 
customer consent, by a written notice from the member sent to the 
customer documenting the provision of such required disclosures and 
such oral consent. Once a customer has provided affirmative consent 
and so long the firm continues to provide written disclosures on a 
periodic basis, the firm will not need to renew such affirmative 
consent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Expand the class of customers eligible to give affirmative 
consent from institutional investors with 10,000-share orders or more 
to all institutional investors and individual investors with orders of 
10,000 shares (worth at least $100,000) or more; and
     Add an exception which would permit specialists to trade 
proprietarily ahead of held customer orders 2\1/2\ hours after the 
close of regular trading and up to 15 minutes prior to the following 
trading day's opening, thereby better allowing the specialists to hedge 
their trading risk and bring their dealer accounts in line with trading 
in away markets.
    According to the Amex, these changes will serve to harmonize Rule 
24--AEMI with the guidelines of the Financial Industry Regulatory 
Authority, Inc. (``FINRA,'' f/k/a NASD) on members trading while in 
possession of customer orders, commonly known as the ``Manning Rule,'' 
\10\ so as to provide a more consistent regulatory environment for 
broker-dealers. The Amex intends to make the same amendments in 
substance to its Rule 24--AEMI as the NYSE made to its Rule 92, with 
slight differences discussed below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ See FINRA IM 2110-2 and FINRA Rule 2111.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    New NYSE Rule 92(c)(3) requires, among other things, that in order 
to avail itself of the riskless principal transaction:

    A member must submit a report of execution of the facilitated 
order to a designated Exchange database as required by NYSE Rule 
123(f). The member must also submit to the same database, within 
such time frame and in such format as the Exchange may from time to 
time require, an electronic report containing data elements 
sufficient to provide an electronic link of the execution of the 
facilitated order to all of the underlying orders.

    The referenced ``Exchange database'' is the NYSE's Front End 
Systemic Capture (``FESC'') database. The Amex does not have a database 
that is able to capture order and execution data with respect to 
riskless principal transactions in the same manner as FESC. 
Accordingly, the Amex's regulatory staff will need to surveil for 
proper use of the new riskless principal exemption simultaneous with 
general surveillance of transactions where members trade ahead of 
customers orders under pre-existing exceptions to Rule 24--AEMI. Should 
a transaction appear to be a riskless principal transaction, Amex 
Regulation will validate that all elements required by the exception 
are met by requesting and reviewing supporting documentation from the 
members involved, rather than automatically surveilling for violations 
as the NYSE is presumably able to do with its FESC system. Accordingly, 
because technological differences require the development of a slightly 
different audit trail, Amex's corresponding paragraph in Rule 24--AEMI 
will state:

    A member or member organization must maintain a contemporaneous 
record of every execution on a riskless principal basis, which 
record shall be submitted to the Exchange within such time frame, in 
such format, and containing such information (in addition to any 
information required by Rule 153--AEMI) as the Exchange may from 
time to time require to validate the riskless principal nature of 
the transaction.

    Other wording, structural, or grammatical differences between 
comparable sections of NYSE Rule 92 and Rule 24--AEMI are not intended 
to create substantive differences and are intended only to add clarity 
where the Amex thought necessary for its members.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ For example, while the NYSE chose to make the riskless 
principal exception a separate subsection (c) to its Rule 92 (with 
the remaining exceptions listed in NYSE Rule 92(d)), Amex preferred 
to list all exceptions--including the riskless principal transaction 
exception--in the same subsection of its equivalent Rule 24--
AEMI(c). For another example, NYSE Rule 92(b) begins:
    A member or member organization may enter a proprietary order 
while representing a customer order that could be executed at the 
same price, provided that the customer's order is designated not 
held and is for (i) an institutional account, or (ii) over 10,000 
shares, unless such orders are less than $100,000 in value, and the 
member organization periodically provides written disclosures to its 
customers and obtains and documents affirmative customer consent, 
under the following conditions. * * *
    Comparable Rule 24--AEMI(b), as proposed to be amended, 
provides:
    A member or member organization may enter a proprietary order 
while representing a customer order which could be executed at the 
same price, provided:
    (1) The customer's order is designated not held and is (i) an 
institutional account, or (ii) over 10,000 shares (unless such 
orders are less than $100,000 in value); and the member organization 
has periodically provided written disclosures to such customer of 
the possibility and allocation methodology of its potential trading 
along and obtained and documented such customer's affirmative 
consent to same; and
    (2) one of the following conditions exists. * * *
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Housekeeping Changes
    Existing Rule 24--AEMI substantially overlaps with existing Rule 
150--AEMI, in that both rules recite the general prohibitions upon, and 
exceptions to, an Amex member trading a proprietary order while in 
possession of a customer order that could be executed at the same 
price. To eliminate future confusion, the Amex proposes to eliminate 
Rule 150--AEMI (which is a vestige of pre-AEMI Amex Rule 150) in favor 
of merging the two rules into Rule 24--AEMI (which was originally 
patterned after NYSE Rule 92). This will result in three exceptions 
being added to Rule 24--AEMI, but no substantive expansion of the list 
of exceptions available pre-amendment (except as noted above by 
expanding the exceptions to include the recent changes made to 
comparable NYSE Rule 92).\12\
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    \12\ Note, however, that the former Rule 150--AEMI(c)(5) 
exception for a purchase or sale of an exchange-traded fund by a 
specialist where the specialist is on parity with another broker-
dealer order pursuant to the Exchange's rules (e.g., Rule 126--AEMI) 
has been incorporated in new Rule 24--AEMI(c)(7) as ``any purchase 
or sale of any security * * * by a specialist whose bid (offer) is 
on parity with a customer's order pursuant to Rule 126--AEMI.'' The 
new phrasing more accurately describes the operation and application 
of Rule 126--AEMI, under which a specialist has been and is 
permitted to trade on parity with a customer under a variety of 
circumstances broader than reflected in former Rule 150--AEMI(c)(5).
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    Additionally, Commentary .06 to Rule 24--AEMI will now clarify that 
the riskless principal exception of new subsection (c)(10) applies only 
to orders entered from off the floor of the Exchange, and that 
specialists, in particular, remain bound by Rule 155--AEMI, 
``Precedence Accorded to Orders Entrusted to Specialists,'' which 
contains no such exception (replacing existing Commentary .06, which 
deals with the interplay between the now-defunct Intermarket Trading 
System Plan and Rule 24--AEMI).
    Finally, Rule 152--AEMI (originally patterned after NYSE Rule 91), 
which currently contains the general prohibitions upon, and exceptions 
to, supplying/taking stock to fill a customer's order, will be amended 
to incorporate the new riskless principal transaction exception, as 
such transactions, by definition, include a member supplying/taking 
stock to fill a customer's order.\13\
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    \13\ The Amex notes that the NYSE did not so amend its 
comparable NYSE Rule 91, although it is not clear why.

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[[Page 68913]]

2. Statutory Basis
    The proposed rule change is designed to be consistent with 
Regulation NMS,\14\ as well as section 6(b) of the Act,\15\ in general, 
and furthers the objectives of section 6(b)(5) of the Act,\16\ in 
particular, in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and 
manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable 
principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism 
of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in 
general, to protect investors and the public interest.
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    \14\ 17 CFR 242.600 et. seq.
    \15\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).
    \16\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).
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B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Amex believes that the proposed rule change does not impose any 
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 formal written comments were solicited or received with respect 
to the proposed rule change itself, but Amex staff have had numerous 
communications with representatives of the Securities Industry and 
Financial Markets Association, which have requested that the Amex amend 
its rules to match the recent changes to NYSE Rules 92, as described 
above.

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

    The Amex has designated the proposed rule change as one that: (1) 
Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public 
interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; 
and (3) does not become operative for 30 days from the date of filing, 
or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with 
the protection of investors and the public interest. In addition, as 
required under Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii),\17\ the Amex provided the 
Commission with written notice of its intention to file the proposed 
rule change, along with a brief description of the text of the proposed 
rule change, at least five business days prior to filing the proposal 
with the Commission. Therefore, the proposed rule change has become 
effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act \18\ and Rule 19b-
4(f)(6) thereunder.\19\
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    \17\ 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6)(iii).
    \18\ 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A).
    \19\ 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6).
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    The Amex has requested the Commission to waive the 30-day operative 
delay because of the commencement of full industry compliance with 
Rules 610 and 611 of Regulation NMS \20\ and the broker-dealer 
community's desire to have the riskless principal exception in place at 
all automated market centers as soon as possible. In addition, the Amex 
states that the proposed changes are similar to those adopted by the 
NYSE and do not raise new issues.
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    \20\ 17 CFR 242.610 and 17 CFR 242.611.
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    The Commission hereby grants the Amex's request \21\ and believes 
that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the 
protection of investors and the public interest because the changes to 
Rule 24--AEMI are substantially similar to changes adopted previously 
by the NYSE.\22\ The remaining changes to Rules 24--AEMI and 152--AEMI, 
and the elimination of Rule 150--AEMI, are designed to streamline and 
clarify the Amex's rules and do not raise new regulatory issues. For 
these reasons, the Commission designates that the proposed rule change 
become operative immediately.
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    \21\ For purposes of waiving the 30-day operative delay, the 
Commission has considered the proposal's impact on efficiency, 
competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).
    \22\ See note 5, supra.
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    At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule 
change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it 
appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate 
in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise 
in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

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

Electronic Comments

     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-2007-125 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-2007-125. 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 Room, 100 F Street, NE., 
Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10 
a.m. and 3 p.m. 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 publicly available. All 
submissions should refer to File Number SR-Amex-2007-125 and should be 
submitted on or before December 27, 2007.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, 
pursuant to delegated authority.\23\
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    \23\ 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).
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Florence E. Harmon,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. E7-23593 Filed 12-5-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P