Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange's Credits at Equity 7, Section 118(a), 29270-29273 [2019-13116]

Download as PDF 29270 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 120 / Friday, June 21, 2019 / Notices would acknowledge the purpose of the proposed liquidation cost model as distinct from the STANS methodology by using the proposed liquidation cost model as a floor on a Clearing Member’s margin requirements. OCC’s proposal would be tailored to the particular attributes of products in a Clearing Member’s portfolio. As described above, OCC would use the proposed model to calculate two riskbased liquidation costs for each portfolio: (1) The Vega LC and (2) the Delta LC. The Commission believes, therefore, that the adoption of the proposed liquidation cost model designed to produce margin levels commensurate with the risks of liquidating a Clearing Member’s portfolio is consistent with Exchange Act Rule 17Ad–22(e)(6)(i).24 IV. Conclusion On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that the Proposed Rule Change is consistent with the requirements of the Exchange Act, and in particular, the requirements of Section 17A of the Exchange Act 25 and the rules and regulations thereunder. It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Exchange Act,26 that the Proposed Rule Change (SR– OCC–2019–004) be, and hereby is, approved. For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.27 Vanessa A. Countryman, Acting Secretary. [FR Doc. 2019–13113 Filed 6–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011–01–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [SEC File No. 270–339, OMB Control No. 3235–0382] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Upon Written Request Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549–2736 Extension: Schedule 14D–9F jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 24 17 CFR 240.17Ad–22(e)(6)(i). 25 In approving this Proposed Rule Change, the Commission has considered the proposed rules’ impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f). 26 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2). 27 17 CFR 200.30–3(a)(12). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:30 Jun 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget this request for extension of the previously approved collection of information discussed below. Schedule 14D–9F (17 CFR 240.14d– 103) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78 et seq.) is used by any foreign private issuer incorporated or organized under the laws of Canada or by any director or officer of such issuer, where the issuer is the subject of a cash tender or exchange offer for a class of securities filed on Schedule 14D–1F. The information required to be filed with the Commission is intended to permit verification of compliance with the securities law requirements and assures the public availability of such information. The information provided is mandatory and all information is made available to the public upon request. We estimate that Schedule 14D–9F takes approximately 2 hours per response to prepare and is filed by approximately 6 respondents annually for a total reporting burden of 12 hours (2 hours per response × 6 responses). An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. The public may view the background documentation for this information collection at the following website, www.reginfo.gov. Comments should be directed to: (i) Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, or by sending an email to: Lindsay.M.Abate@omb.eop.gov; and (ii) Charles Riddle, Acting Director/Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Candace Kenner, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549 or send an email to: PRA_ Mailbox@sec.gov. Comments must be submitted to OMB within 30 days of this notice. Dated: June 18, 2019. Eduardo A. Aleman, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2019–13279 Filed 6–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011–01–P PO 00000 SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–86120; File No. SR–BX– 2019–019] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange’s Credits at Equity 7, Section 118(a) June 17, 2019. Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (‘‘Act’’),1 and Rule 19b–4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on June 4, 2019, Nasdaq BX, Inc. (‘‘BX’’ or ‘‘Exchange’’) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘SEC’’ or ‘‘Commission’’) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III, below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons. I. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change The Exchange proposes to amend the Exchange’s credits at Equity 7, Section 118(a), as described further below. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange’s website at http://nasdaqbx.cchwallstreet.com/, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission’s Public Reference Room. II. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements. A. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose The Exchange operates on the ‘‘takermaker’’ model, whereby it pays credits to members that take liquidity and 1 15 2 17 Frm 00114 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM U.S.C. 78s(b)(1). CFR 240.19b–4. 21JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 120 / Friday, June 21, 2019 / Notices charges fees to members that provide liquidity. Under Equity 7, Section 118(a), the Exchange describes the charges and credits applied for the use of the order execution and routing services of the Exchange System by members for all securities priced at $1 or more per share that it trades. As described below, the Exchange is amending the qualification criteria of a credit provided to members for entering Orders that access liquidity in the BX System. Description of the Change The purpose of the proposed rule change is to reduce the qualification criteria required to receive a credit for entering an Order in a Tape A or C security that accesses liquidity in the BX System. Specifically, the Exchange currently provides a credit of $0.0015 per share executed for Tape A and C securities for an Order that accesses liquidity (excluding orders with Midpoint pegging and excluding orders that receive price improvement and execute against an order with a Nondisplayed price) entered by a member that accesses liquidity equal to or exceeding 0.070% of total Consolidated Volume during month. The Exchange is proposing to decrease the Consolidated Volume requirement from 0.070% to 0.065%.3 jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES Applicability to and Impact on Participants 4 The proposed reduction in the qualification criteria is not targeted at or expected to be limited in its 3 The Exchange calculates Consolidated Volume on a monthly basis to determine qualification for the credit. Because the Exchange is filing this on the second trading day of the month of June 2019, it will apply qualification for the tier based on 0.070% of total Consolidated Volume for the single trading day during which this proposed change was not in effect. The Exchange will apply the proposed 0.065% criteria for the remaining trading days during the month. As a consequence, qualification for the credit will be determined by a weighted combination of the two levels of Consolidated Volume based on the number of trading days the particular requirement is in effect. 4 On May 21, 2019, the SEC Division of Trading and Markets (the ‘‘Division’’) issued fee filing guidance titled ‘‘Staff Guidance on SRO Rule Filings Relating to Fees’’ (‘‘Guidance’’). Within the Guidance, the Division noted, among other things, that the purpose discussion should address ‘‘how the fee may apply differently (e.g., additional cost vs. additional discount) to different types of market participants (e.g., market makers, institutional brokers, retail brokers, vendors, etc.) and different sizes of market participants.’’ See Guidance (available at https://www.sec.gov/tm/staff-guidancesro-rule-filings-fees). The Guidance also suggests that the purpose discussion should include numerical examples. Where possible, the Exchange is including numerical examples. In addition, the Exchange is providing data to the Commission in support of its arguments herein. The Guidance covers all aspects of a fee filing, which the Exchange has addressed throughout this filing. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:30 Jun 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 applicability to a specific segment(s) of market participants nor will it apply differently to different types of market participants. Non-members cannot qualify for the credit.5 The proposed change will lower the threshold required to achieve a better remove rate and therefore will make it more achievable for more members.6 Consequently, the proposed change will not negatively impact members that do not qualify because their credit opportunities will remain unchanged. Moreover, the proposed fee is a reduction in costs for members that access quotes on the Exchange, because in the absence of the proposed change members would receive a lower rebate, resulting in a higher cost for transacting on the Exchange. Based on April 2019 volumes, the existing tier represents a minimum of 4.387 million shares removed. Based on past experience administering similar pricing proposals, the Exchange estimates that multiple members of various types would be reasonably positioned to meet the amended tier. 2. Statutory Basis The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,7 in general, and furthers the objectives of Sections 6(b)(4) and 6(b)(5) of the Act,8 in particular, in that it provides for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among members and issuers and other persons using any facility, and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers. The proposal is also consistent with Section 11A of the Act relating to the establishment of the national market system for securities. Moreover, the Exchange believes that its proposal complies with Commission guidance on SRO fee filings that the Commission Staff issued on May 21, 2019.9 The Proposal Is Reasonable The Exchange’s proposed reduction to the qualification requirement is reasonable in several respects. As a threshold matter, the Exchange is subject to significant competitive forces in the market for equity securities 5 Id. 6 As substantiated by data provided to the Commission. 7 15 U.S.C. 78f(b). 8 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(4) and (5). 9 See Guidance, supra note 4. Although the Exchange believes that this filing complies with the Guidance, the Exchange does not concede that the standards set forth in the Guidance are consistent with the Exchange Act and reserves its right to challenge those standards through administrative and judicial review, as appropriate. PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29271 transaction services that constrain its pricing determinations in that market. The fact that this market is competitive has long been recognized by the courts. In NetCoalition v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the D.C. Circuit stated as follows: ‘‘[n]o one disputes that competition for order flow is ‘fierce.’ . . . As the SEC explained, ‘[i]n the U.S. national market system, buyers and sellers of securities, and the brokerdealers that act as their order-routing agents, have a wide range of choices of where to route orders for execution’; [and] ‘no exchange can afford to take its market share percentages for granted’ because ‘no exchange possesses a monopoly, regulatory or otherwise, in the execution of order flow from broker dealers’ . . . .’’ 10 Numerous indicia demonstrate the competitive nature of this market. For example, clear substitutes to the Exchange exist in the market for equity security transaction services. The Exchange is only one of several equity venues to which market participants may direct their order flow, and it represents a small percentage of the overall market. It is also only one of several taker-maker exchanges. Competing equity exchanges offer similar tiered pricing structures to that of the Exchange, including schedules of rebates and fees that apply based upon members achieving certain volume thresholds. These competing pricing schedules, moreover, are presently comparable to if not more generous than those that the Exchange provides.11 Within this environment, market participants can freely and often do shift their order flow among the Exchange and competing venues in response to changes in their respective pricing schedules.12 Separately, the Exchange has provided the SEC staff multiple examples of instances where pricing 10 NetCoalition v. SEC, 615 F.3d 525, 539 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (quoting Securities Exchange Act Release No. 59039 (December 2, 2008), 73 FR 74770, 74782– 83 (December 9, 2008) (SR–NYSEArca–2006–21)). 11 The Exchange notes that NYSE National and CBOE EDGA offer higher rebates for their members accessing liquidity on their exchanges. CBOE EDGA provides a standard rebate for liquidity removers of $0.0024 per share executed (or higher if a member qualifies for a volume tier), and NYSE National has a range from a fee of $0.0005 per share executed to a rebate of $0.0020 per share executed. In addition, CBOE BYX offers a similar pricing schedule to Nasdaq BX. 12 The Exchange perceives no regulatory, structural, or cost impediments to market participants shifting order flow away from it. See Guidance, supra note 4. In particular, the Exchange notes that these examples of shifts in liquidity and market share, along with many others, have occurred within the context of market participants’ existing duties of Best Execution and obligations under the Order Protection Rule under Regulation NMS. E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM 21JNN1 29272 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 120 / Friday, June 21, 2019 / Notices jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES changes by BX and other exchanges have resulted in shifts in exchange market share. Within the foregoing context, the proposal represents a reasonable attempt by the Exchange to increase its liquidity and market share relative to its competitors. The Exchange also believes that the particular adjustment that it proposes to its volume qualification criteria for the $0.0015 per share executed credit is a reasonable attempt to achieve this end because this credit tier is particularly important to the Exchange’s customers. That is, this credit is one for which several Exchange members presently qualify and whose orders comprise substantial remove volume on the Exchange. It is also a credit tier that has been endangered by the recent decline in the Exchange’s market share insofar as this decline has made it more difficult for members to achieve and maintain its total Consolidated Volume requirement. Finally, the Exchange believes that adjusting the qualification criteria for this particular credit will not only help ensure that qualifying members will continue to qualify for the credit, but it also will render the credit readily achievable for a broader group of members. The Exchange estimates that the proposal will provide multiple members with a reasonable opportunity to meet the adjusted tier. The Proposal Is an Equitable Allocation of Credits The Exchange believes its proposal allocates its rebates fairly among its market participants. The Exchange is not proposing to adjust the amount of the credit, which will remain at the $0.0015 per share executed level that the Commission has already approved. By proposing to lower the criteria to qualify for the credit, the Exchange intends to help ensure that those members that currently qualify for it will continue to do so even as the Exchange’s market share has declined. It also intends to broaden the base of members who can qualify for it. Finally, the Exchange intends that its proposal will help to stem or reverse the loss in market share that the Exchange is experiencing. The Exchange intends for the proposal to improve market quality for all members on the Exchange and by extension attract more liquidity to the market, improving market wide quality and price discovery. The proposal neither targets nor will it have a disparate impact on any particular category of market participant, and in fact, will allow more market participants to take advantage of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:30 Jun 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 existing credit. The Exchange calibrated the proposal to impact a broad swath of members whose orders comprise substantial remove volume so that it would have a significant effect. The Exchange expects that the proposal will enable the multitude of members that currently qualify for the credit tier to continue to do so. Additionally, based on May 2019 volume, the Exchange estimates that the proposal will provide multiple members with a reasonable opportunity to meet the adjusted tier. As to those members that do not presently qualify for the credit tier, and will not qualify for the adjusted tier, the proposal will not adversely impact their existing pricing or their ability to qualify for other credit tiers. The Proposed Fee Is Not Unfairly Discriminatory The Exchange believes that the proposal is not unfairly discriminatory. As an initial matter, the Exchange believes that nothing about its volumebased tiered pricing model is inherently unfair; instead, it is a rational pricing model that is well-established and ubiquitous in today’s economy among firms in various industries—from cobranded credit cards to grocery stores to cellular telephone data plans—that use it to reward the loyalty of their best customers that provide high levels of business activity and incent other customers to increase the extent of their business activity. It is also a pricing model that the Exchange and its competitors have long employed with the assent of the Commission. It is fair because it incentivizes customer activity that increases liquidity, enhances price discovery, and improves the overall quality of the equity markets. Furthermore, the Exchange’s proposal to adjust the qualification criteria for the $0.0015 per share executed credit tier is not unfairly discriminatory. The Exchange intends for the proposal to improve market quality for all members on the Exchange and by extension attract more liquidity to the market, improving market wide quality and price discovery. The proposal neither targets nor will it have a disparate impact on any particular category of market participant. Instead, the Exchange calibrated the proposal to impact a broad swath of members whose orders comprise substantial remove volume so that it would have a significant effect. The Exchange expects that the proposal will enable the multitude of existing members that currently qualify for the credit tier to continue to do so. Additionally, based on May 2019 volume, the Exchange estimates that the proposal will provide PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 multiple members with a reasonable opportunity to meet the adjusted tier. As to those members that do not presently qualify for the credit tier, and will not qualify for the adjusted tier (although they might in the future as their business grows), the proposal will not adversely impact their existing pricing or their ability to qualify for other credit tiers. B. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Burden on Competition The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. Intramarket Competition Addressing whether the proposed change could place certain market participants at a relative disadvantage compared to other market participants, the Exchange does not believe that members that do not have the capacity to provide the level of Consolidated Volume required by the proposal are disadvantaged. As noted above, all members benefit from the removal of liquidity by those that choose to meet the tier qualification criteria. Members may grow their businesses so that they have the capacity to receive the credit. Moreover, members are free to trade on other venues to the extent they believe that the fees assessed and credits provided are not attractive. As one can observe by looking at any market share chart, price competition between exchanges is fierce, with liquidity and market share moving freely between exchanges in reaction to fee and credit changes. The Exchange notes that the tier structure is consistent with brokerdealer fee practices as well as the other industries, as described above. Intermarket Competition Addressing whether the proposed fee could impose a burden on competition on other SROs that is not necessary or appropriate, the Exchange believes that the proposed change to the qualification criteria for the credit for accessing liquidity of Tape A and C does not impose a burden on competition because the Exchange’s execution services are completely voluntary and subject to extensive competition both from the other 12 live exchanges and from off-exchange venues, which include 32 alternative trading systems. The Exchange notes that it operates in a highly competitive market in which market participants can readily favor competing venues if they deem fee levels at a particular venue to be excessive, or rebate opportunities E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM 21JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 120 / Friday, June 21, 2019 / Notices available at other venues to be more favorable. In such an environment, the Exchange must continually adjust its fees to remain competitive with other exchanges and with alternative trading systems that have been exempted from compliance with the statutory standards applicable to exchanges. Because competitors are free to modify their own fees in response, and because market participants may readily adjust their order routing practices, the Exchange believes that the degree to which fee changes in this market may impose any burden on competition is extremely limited. The proposed reduced criteria is reflective of this competition because, as a threshold issue, the Exchange is a relatively small market so its ability to burden intermarket competition is limited. In this regard, even the largest U.S. equities exchange by volume only has 17–18% market share, which in most markets could hardly be categorized as having enough market power to burden competition. Moreover, as noted above, price competition between exchanges is fierce, with liquidity and market share moving freely between exchanges in reaction to fee and credit changes. This is in addition to free flow of order flow to and among off-exchange venues which comprised more than 38% of industry volume for the month of April 2019. In sum, if the changes proposed herein are unattractive to market participants, it is likely that the Exchange will lose market share as a result. Accordingly, the Exchange does not believe that the proposed changes will impair the ability of members or competing order execution venues to maintain their competitive standing in the financial markets. jspears on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES C. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others No written comments were either solicited or received. III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act.13 At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is: (i) Necessary or appropriate in the public interest; (ii) for the protection 13 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:30 Jun 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 29273 of investors; or (iii) otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved. For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.14 Vanessa A. Countryman, Acting Secretary. 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: BILLING CODE 8011–01–P Electronic Comments • Use the Commission’s internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/ rules/sro.shtml); or • Send an email to rule-comments@ sec.gov. Please include File Number SR– BX–2019–019 on the subject line. Paper Comments • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549–1090. All submissions should refer to File Number SR–BX–2019–019. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission’s internet website (http://www.sec.gov/ rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for website viewing and printing in the Commission’s Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change. Persons submitting comments are cautioned that we do not redact or edit personal identifying information from comment submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR–BX–2019–019 and should be submitted on or before July 12, 2019. PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 [FR Doc. 2019–13116 Filed 6–20–19; 8:45 am] SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [SEC File No. 270–127, OMB Control No. 3235–0108] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Upon Written Request Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549–2736 Extension: Rule 14f–1 Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget this request for extension of the previously approved collection of information. Under Exchange Act Rule 14f–1 (17 CFR 240.14f–1), if a person or persons have acquired securities of an issuer in a transaction subject to Sections 13(d) or 14(d) of the Exchange Act, and changes a majority of the directors of the issuer otherwise than at a meeting of security holders, then the issuer must file with the Commission and transmit to security holders information related to the change in directors within 10 days prior to the date the new majority takes office as directors. We estimate that it takes approximately 18 burden hours to provide the information required under Rule 14f–1 and that the information is filed by approximately 64 respondents for a total annual burden of 1,152 hours (18 hours per response × 64 responses). An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. The public may view the background documentation for this information collection at the following website, www.reginfo.gov. Comments should be directed to: (i) Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, 14 17 E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM CFR 200.30–3(a)(12). 21JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 120 (Friday, June 21, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29270-29273]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-13116]


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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

[Release No. 34-86120; File No. SR-BX-2019-019]


Self-Regulatory Organizations; Nasdaq BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing 
and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the 
Exchange's Credits at Equity 7, Section 118(a)

June 17, 2019.
    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 
(``Act''),\1\ and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,\2\ notice is hereby given that 
on June 4, 2019, Nasdaq BX, Inc. (``BX'' or ``Exchange'') filed with 
the Securities and Exchange Commission (``SEC'' or ``Commission'') the 
proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III, below, which 
Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing 
this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from 
interested persons.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).
    \2\ 17 CFR 240.19b-4.
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I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance 
of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to amend the Exchange's credits at Equity 7, 
Section 118(a), as described further below.
    The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's 
website at http://nasdaqbx.cchwallstreet.com/, at the principal office 
of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and 
Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements 
concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and 
discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The 
text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in 
Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in 
sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such 
statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and 
Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose
    The Exchange operates on the ``taker-maker'' model, whereby it pays 
credits to members that take liquidity and

[[Page 29271]]

charges fees to members that provide liquidity. Under Equity 7, Section 
118(a), the Exchange describes the charges and credits applied for the 
use of the order execution and routing services of the Exchange System 
by members for all securities priced at $1 or more per share that it 
trades. As described below, the Exchange is amending the qualification 
criteria of a credit provided to members for entering Orders that 
access liquidity in the BX System.
Description of the Change
    The purpose of the proposed rule change is to reduce the 
qualification criteria required to receive a credit for entering an 
Order in a Tape A or C security that accesses liquidity in the BX 
System. Specifically, the Exchange currently provides a credit of 
$0.0015 per share executed for Tape A and C securities for an Order 
that accesses liquidity (excluding orders with Midpoint pegging and 
excluding orders that receive price improvement and execute against an 
order with a Non-displayed price) entered by a member that accesses 
liquidity equal to or exceeding 0.070% of total Consolidated Volume 
during month. The Exchange is proposing to decrease the Consolidated 
Volume requirement from 0.070% to 0.065%.\3\
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    \3\ The Exchange calculates Consolidated Volume on a monthly 
basis to determine qualification for the credit. Because the 
Exchange is filing this on the second trading day of the month of 
June 2019, it will apply qualification for the tier based on 0.070% 
of total Consolidated Volume for the single trading day during which 
this proposed change was not in effect. The Exchange will apply the 
proposed 0.065% criteria for the remaining trading days during the 
month. As a consequence, qualification for the credit will be 
determined by a weighted combination of the two levels of 
Consolidated Volume based on the number of trading days the 
particular requirement is in effect.
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Applicability to and Impact on Participants \4\
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    \4\ On May 21, 2019, the SEC Division of Trading and Markets 
(the ``Division'') issued fee filing guidance titled ``Staff 
Guidance on SRO Rule Filings Relating to Fees'' (``Guidance''). 
Within the Guidance, the Division noted, among other things, that 
the purpose discussion should address ``how the fee may apply 
differently (e.g., additional cost vs. additional discount) to 
different types of market participants (e.g., market makers, 
institutional brokers, retail brokers, vendors, etc.) and different 
sizes of market participants.'' See Guidance (available at https://www.sec.gov/tm/staff-guidance-sro-rule-filings-fees). The Guidance 
also suggests that the purpose discussion should include numerical 
examples. Where possible, the Exchange is including numerical 
examples. In addition, the Exchange is providing data to the 
Commission in support of its arguments herein. The Guidance covers 
all aspects of a fee filing, which the Exchange has addressed 
throughout this filing.
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    The proposed reduction in the qualification criteria is not 
targeted at or expected to be limited in its applicability to a 
specific segment(s) of market participants nor will it apply 
differently to different types of market participants. Non-members 
cannot qualify for the credit.\5\ The proposed change will lower the 
threshold required to achieve a better remove rate and therefore will 
make it more achievable for more members.\6\ Consequently, the proposed 
change will not negatively impact members that do not qualify because 
their credit opportunities will remain unchanged. Moreover, the 
proposed fee is a reduction in costs for members that access quotes on 
the Exchange, because in the absence of the proposed change members 
would receive a lower rebate, resulting in a higher cost for 
transacting on the Exchange. Based on April 2019 volumes, the existing 
tier represents a minimum of 4.387 million shares removed. Based on 
past experience administering similar pricing proposals, the Exchange 
estimates that multiple members of various types would be reasonably 
positioned to meet the amended tier.
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    \5\ Id.
    \6\ As substantiated by data provided to the Commission.
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2. Statutory Basis
    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 
6(b) of the Act,\7\ in general, and furthers the objectives of Sections 
6(b)(4) and 6(b)(5) of the Act,\8\ in particular, in that it provides 
for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges 
among members and issuers and other persons using any facility, and is 
not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, 
issuers, brokers, or dealers. The proposal is also consistent with 
Section 11A of the Act relating to the establishment of the national 
market system for securities. Moreover, the Exchange believes that its 
proposal complies with Commission guidance on SRO fee filings that the 
Commission Staff issued on May 21, 2019.\9\
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    \7\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).
    \8\ 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(4) and (5).
    \9\ See Guidance, supra note 4. Although the Exchange believes 
that this filing complies with the Guidance, the Exchange does not 
concede that the standards set forth in the Guidance are consistent 
with the Exchange Act and reserves its right to challenge those 
standards through administrative and judicial review, as 
appropriate.
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The Proposal Is Reasonable
    The Exchange's proposed reduction to the qualification requirement 
is reasonable in several respects. As a threshold matter, the Exchange 
is subject to significant competitive forces in the market for equity 
securities transaction services that constrain its pricing 
determinations in that market. The fact that this market is competitive 
has long been recognized by the courts. In NetCoalition v. Securities 
and Exchange Commission, the D.C. Circuit stated as follows: ``[n]o one 
disputes that competition for order flow is `fierce.' . . . As the SEC 
explained, `[i]n the U.S. national market system, buyers and sellers of 
securities, and the broker-dealers that act as their order-routing 
agents, have a wide range of choices of where to route orders for 
execution'; [and] `no exchange can afford to take its market share 
percentages for granted' because `no exchange possesses a monopoly, 
regulatory or otherwise, in the execution of order flow from broker 
dealers' . . . .'' \10\
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    \10\ NetCoalition v. SEC, 615 F.3d 525, 539 (D.C. Cir. 2010) 
(quoting Securities Exchange Act Release No. 59039 (December 2, 
2008), 73 FR 74770, 74782-83 (December 9, 2008) (SR-NYSEArca-2006-
21)).
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    Numerous indicia demonstrate the competitive nature of this market. 
For example, clear substitutes to the Exchange exist in the market for 
equity security transaction services. The Exchange is only one of 
several equity venues to which market participants may direct their 
order flow, and it represents a small percentage of the overall market. 
It is also only one of several taker-maker exchanges. Competing equity 
exchanges offer similar tiered pricing structures to that of the 
Exchange, including schedules of rebates and fees that apply based upon 
members achieving certain volume thresholds. These competing pricing 
schedules, moreover, are presently comparable to if not more generous 
than those that the Exchange provides.\11\
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    \11\ The Exchange notes that NYSE National and CBOE EDGA offer 
higher rebates for their members accessing liquidity on their 
exchanges. CBOE EDGA provides a standard rebate for liquidity 
removers of $0.0024 per share executed (or higher if a member 
qualifies for a volume tier), and NYSE National has a range from a 
fee of $0.0005 per share executed to a rebate of $0.0020 per share 
executed. In addition, CBOE BYX offers a similar pricing schedule to 
Nasdaq BX.
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    Within this environment, market participants can freely and often 
do shift their order flow among the Exchange and competing venues in 
response to changes in their respective pricing schedules.\12\ 
Separately, the Exchange has provided the SEC staff multiple examples 
of instances where pricing

[[Page 29272]]

changes by BX and other exchanges have resulted in shifts in exchange 
market share.
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    \12\ The Exchange perceives no regulatory, structural, or cost 
impediments to market participants shifting order flow away from it. 
See Guidance, supra note 4. In particular, the Exchange notes that 
these examples of shifts in liquidity and market share, along with 
many others, have occurred within the context of market 
participants' existing duties of Best Execution and obligations 
under the Order Protection Rule under Regulation NMS.
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    Within the foregoing context, the proposal represents a reasonable 
attempt by the Exchange to increase its liquidity and market share 
relative to its competitors. The Exchange also believes that the 
particular adjustment that it proposes to its volume qualification 
criteria for the $0.0015 per share executed credit is a reasonable 
attempt to achieve this end because this credit tier is particularly 
important to the Exchange's customers. That is, this credit is one for 
which several Exchange members presently qualify and whose orders 
comprise substantial remove volume on the Exchange. It is also a credit 
tier that has been endangered by the recent decline in the Exchange's 
market share insofar as this decline has made it more difficult for 
members to achieve and maintain its total Consolidated Volume 
requirement. Finally, the Exchange believes that adjusting the 
qualification criteria for this particular credit will not only help 
ensure that qualifying members will continue to qualify for the credit, 
but it also will render the credit readily achievable for a broader 
group of members. The Exchange estimates that the proposal will provide 
multiple members with a reasonable opportunity to meet the adjusted 
tier.
The Proposal Is an Equitable Allocation of Credits
    The Exchange believes its proposal allocates its rebates fairly 
among its market participants. The Exchange is not proposing to adjust 
the amount of the credit, which will remain at the $0.0015 per share 
executed level that the Commission has already approved. By proposing 
to lower the criteria to qualify for the credit, the Exchange intends 
to help ensure that those members that currently qualify for it will 
continue to do so even as the Exchange's market share has declined. It 
also intends to broaden the base of members who can qualify for it. 
Finally, the Exchange intends that its proposal will help to stem or 
reverse the loss in market share that the Exchange is experiencing.
    The Exchange intends for the proposal to improve market quality for 
all members on the Exchange and by extension attract more liquidity to 
the market, improving market wide quality and price discovery. The 
proposal neither targets nor will it have a disparate impact on any 
particular category of market participant, and in fact, will allow more 
market participants to take advantage of the existing credit. The 
Exchange calibrated the proposal to impact a broad swath of members 
whose orders comprise substantial remove volume so that it would have a 
significant effect. The Exchange expects that the proposal will enable 
the multitude of members that currently qualify for the credit tier to 
continue to do so. Additionally, based on May 2019 volume, the Exchange 
estimates that the proposal will provide multiple members with a 
reasonable opportunity to meet the adjusted tier. As to those members 
that do not presently qualify for the credit tier, and will not qualify 
for the adjusted tier, the proposal will not adversely impact their 
existing pricing or their ability to qualify for other credit tiers.
The Proposed Fee Is Not Unfairly Discriminatory
    The Exchange believes that the proposal is not unfairly 
discriminatory. As an initial matter, the Exchange believes that 
nothing about its volume-based tiered pricing model is inherently 
unfair; instead, it is a rational pricing model that is well-
established and ubiquitous in today's economy among firms in various 
industries--from co-branded credit cards to grocery stores to cellular 
telephone data plans--that use it to reward the loyalty of their best 
customers that provide high levels of business activity and incent 
other customers to increase the extent of their business activity. It 
is also a pricing model that the Exchange and its competitors have long 
employed with the assent of the Commission. It is fair because it 
incentivizes customer activity that increases liquidity, enhances price 
discovery, and improves the overall quality of the equity markets.
    Furthermore, the Exchange's proposal to adjust the qualification 
criteria for the $0.0015 per share executed credit tier is not unfairly 
discriminatory. The Exchange intends for the proposal to improve market 
quality for all members on the Exchange and by extension attract more 
liquidity to the market, improving market wide quality and price 
discovery. The proposal neither targets nor will it have a disparate 
impact on any particular category of market participant. Instead, the 
Exchange calibrated the proposal to impact a broad swath of members 
whose orders comprise substantial remove volume so that it would have a 
significant effect. The Exchange expects that the proposal will enable 
the multitude of existing members that currently qualify for the credit 
tier to continue to do so. Additionally, based on May 2019 volume, the 
Exchange estimates that the proposal will provide multiple members with 
a reasonable opportunity to meet the adjusted tier. As to those members 
that do not presently qualify for the credit tier, and will not qualify 
for the adjusted tier (although they might in the future as their 
business grows), the proposal will not adversely impact their existing 
pricing or their ability to qualify for other credit tiers.

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

    The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will 
impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in 
furtherance of the purposes of the Act.
Intramarket Competition
    Addressing whether the proposed change could place certain market 
participants at a relative disadvantage compared to other market 
participants, the Exchange does not believe that members that do not 
have the capacity to provide the level of Consolidated Volume required 
by the proposal are disadvantaged. As noted above, all members benefit 
from the removal of liquidity by those that choose to meet the tier 
qualification criteria. Members may grow their businesses so that they 
have the capacity to receive the credit. Moreover, members are free to 
trade on other venues to the extent they believe that the fees assessed 
and credits provided are not attractive. As one can observe by looking 
at any market share chart, price competition between exchanges is 
fierce, with liquidity and market share moving freely between exchanges 
in reaction to fee and credit changes. The Exchange notes that the tier 
structure is consistent with broker-dealer fee practices as well as the 
other industries, as described above.
Intermarket Competition
    Addressing whether the proposed fee could impose a burden on 
competition on other SROs that is not necessary or appropriate, the 
Exchange believes that the proposed change to the qualification 
criteria for the credit for accessing liquidity of Tape A and C does 
not impose a burden on competition because the Exchange's execution 
services are completely voluntary and subject to extensive competition 
both from the other 12 live exchanges and from off-exchange venues, 
which include 32 alternative trading systems. The Exchange notes that 
it operates in a highly competitive market in which market participants 
can readily favor competing venues if they deem fee levels at a 
particular venue to be excessive, or rebate opportunities

[[Page 29273]]

available at other venues to be more favorable. In such an environment, 
the Exchange must continually adjust its fees to remain competitive 
with other exchanges and with alternative trading systems that have 
been exempted from compliance with the statutory standards applicable 
to exchanges. Because competitors are free to modify their own fees in 
response, and because market participants may readily adjust their 
order routing practices, the Exchange believes that the degree to which 
fee changes in this market may impose any burden on competition is 
extremely limited.
    The proposed reduced criteria is reflective of this competition 
because, as a threshold issue, the Exchange is a relatively small 
market so its ability to burden intermarket competition is limited. In 
this regard, even the largest U.S. equities exchange by volume only has 
17-18% market share, which in most markets could hardly be categorized 
as having enough market power to burden competition. Moreover, as noted 
above, price competition between exchanges is fierce, with liquidity 
and market share moving freely between exchanges in reaction to fee and 
credit changes. This is in addition to free flow of order flow to and 
among off-exchange venues which comprised more than 38% of industry 
volume for the month of April 2019.
    In sum, if the changes proposed herein are unattractive to market 
participants, it is likely that the Exchange will lose market share as 
a result. Accordingly, the Exchange does not believe that the proposed 
changes will impair the ability of members or competing order execution 
venues to maintain their competitive standing in the financial markets.

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

    No written comments were either solicited or received.

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

    The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 
19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act.\13\
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    \13\ 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii).
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    At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule 
change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule 
change if it appears to the Commission that such action is: (i) 
Necessary or appropriate in the public interest; (ii) for the 
protection of investors; or (iii) otherwise in furtherance of the 
purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the 
Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the 
proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

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

Electronic Comments

     Use the Commission's internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or
     Send an email to [email protected]. Please include 
File Number SR-BX-2019-019 on the subject line.

Paper Comments

     Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities 
and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-BX-2019-019. This file 
number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help 
the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, 
please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on 
the Commission's internet website (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). 
Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written 
statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with 
the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed 
rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those 
that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions 
of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for website viewing and printing in 
the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 
20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 
3:00 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection 
and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments 
received will be posted without change. Persons submitting comments are 
cautioned that we do not redact or edit personal identifying 
information from comment submissions. You should submit only 
information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions 
should refer to File Number SR-BX-2019-019 and should be submitted on 
or before July 12, 2019.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, 
pursuant to delegated authority.\14\
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    \14\ 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).
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Vanessa A. Countryman,
Acting Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2019-13116 Filed 6-20-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P