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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

[Release No. 34-61698; File Nos. 10-194 and 10-1961]

In the Matter of the Applications of EDGX Exchange, Inc., and EDGA Exchange, Inc. for Registration as National Securities Exchanges; Findings, Opinion, and Order of the Commission

On May 7, 2009, EDGX Exchange, Inc. ("EDGX") and EDGA Exchange, Inc. ("EDGA") (each, an "Exchange," and, together, the "Exchanges") each submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") a Form 1 application (each, a "Form 1 Application," and, together, the "Form 1 Applications") under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Act") seeking registration as a national securities exchange pursuant to Section 6 of the Act.2 On July 30, 2009, each Exchange submitted Amendment No. 1 to its Form 1 Application. Notice of the Form 1 Applications, each as modified by Amendment No. 1, was published for comment in theFederal Registeron September 17, 2009.3 The Commission received two comment letters regarding the Form 1 Applications, as modified by Amendment No. 1.4 On February 11, 2010, each Exchange submitted Amendment No. 2 to its Form 1 Application.5
II. Statutory Standards

Under sections 6(b) and 19(a) of the Act,6 the Commission shall by order grant a registration as a national securities exchange if it finds, amongother things, that the exchange is so organized and has the capacity to carry out the purposes of the Act and can comply, and can enforce compliance by, its members and persons associated with its members with the provisions of the Act, the rules and regulations thereunder, and the rules of the exchange.

As discussed in greater detail below, the Commission finds that the Exchanges' Form 1 Applications for exchange registration meet the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder. Further, the Commission finds that the proposed rules of the Exchanges are consistent with Section 6 of the Act in that, among other things, they are designed to: (1) Assure fair representation of an exchange's members in the selection of its directors and administration of its affairs and provide that, among other things, one or more directors shall be representative of investors and not be associated with the exchange, or with a broker or dealer; (2) prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, promote just and equitable principles of trade, foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, remove impediments to and perfect the mechanisms of a free and open market and a national market system; and (3) protect investors and the public interest. The Commission also believes that the rules of the Exchanges are consistent with section 11A of the Act.7 Finally, the Commission finds that the proposed rules of the Exchanges do not impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.8

III. DiscussionA. Corporate Structure

EDGX and EDGA each have applied to the Commission to register as a national securities exchange. EDGX and EDGA currently operate as separate trading platforms of Direct Edge ECN LLC ("DECN"), an electronic communications network ("ECN") that is a registered broker-dealer. Direct Edge Holdings LLC ("DE Holdings"), a Delaware limited liability company, wholly owns EDGX, EDGA, and DECN. Following EDGX's and EDGA's commencement of operations as national securities exchanges, DECN will cease operations as an ECN and DECN (doing business as DE Route) will begin to operate as a facility of the Exchanges that provides outbound order routing for the Exchanges. DECN also will provide inbound routing services to EDGX from EDGA, and to EDGA from EDGX.9

As a limited liability company, DE Holdings is overseen by a Board of Managers ("DE Holdings Board") and ownership in DE Holdings is represented by limited liability membership interests. The Fourth Amended and Restated Limited Liability Company Operating Agreement of DE Holdings ("DE Holdings Operating Agreement") refers to the holders of such interests as "Members."10 The Members of DE Holdings and their respective ownership interests are: International Securities Exchange Holdings, Inc. ("ISE Holdings") (31.54%);11 Citadel Derivatives Group LLC (19.9%); The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (19.9%); Knight/Trimark, Inc. (19.9%); and the ISE Stock Exchange Consortium Members (collectively 8.76%).12

1. Ownership of ISE Holdings

ISE Holdings, the owner of a 31.54% equity interest in DE Holdings, is also the parent company of International Securities Exchange, LLC ("ISE LLC"), a national securities exchange registered under section 6 of the Exchange Act. Following a corporate transaction in 2007 (the "2007 Transaction"),13 ISE Holdings became a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Exchange Holdings, Inc. ("U.S. Exchange Holdings"), which is wholly owned by Eurex Frankfurt AG ("Eurex Frankfurt," and, with Deutsche Borse AG, the "German Upstream Owners"). Eurex Frankfurt is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eurex Zurich AG ("Eurex Zurich"), which, in turn, is jointly owned by Deutsche Borse AG and SIX Swiss Exchange AG ("SWX"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SIX Group AG (SIX Group AG, SWX, and Eurex Zurich are referred to collectively as the "Swiss Upstream Owners," and the Swiss Upstream Owners and the German Upstream Owners are referred to collectively as the "non-U.S. Upstream Owners"). As a result of ISE Holdings' purchase of an equity interest in DE Holdings,14 the non-U.S. Upstream Owners, U.S. Exchange Holdings (together with the non-U.S. Upstream Owners, the "Upstream Owners"), and ISE Holdings acquired indirect ownership and voting interests in EDGX and EDGA.

2. Amendments to the Corporate Resolutions of the Non-U.S. Upstream Owners and Corporate Governing Documents of ISE Holdings and U.S. Exchange Holdings

In connection with the 2007 Transaction, each of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners adopted corporate resolutions (collectively, the "2007 Resolutions") designed to maintain the independence of the regulatory functions of ISE LLC.15 In addition, the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of U.S. Exchange Holdings ("U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate") and the Amended and Restated Bylaws of U.S. Exchange Holdings ("U.S. Exchange Holdings Bylaws"), as well as the Certificate of Incorporation of ISE Holdings ("ISE Holdings Certificate") and the Amended and Restated Bylaws of ISE Holdings ("ISE Holdings Bylaws") included provisions designed to maintain the independence of the regulatory functions of ISE LLC.16

The 2007 Resolutions and the corporate governing documents of U.S. Exchange Holdings and ISE Holdings related to ISE LLC and, by their terms, did not apply to additional national securities exchanges, such as EDGX and EDGA, that the Upstream Owners and ISE Holdings might control, directly or indirectly, as a result of a subsequent transaction. To maintain the independence of the regulatory function of EDGX and EDGA, each of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners has adopted supplemental resolutions (the "Supplemental Resolutions") that apply the 2007 Resolutions to EDGX and EDGA in the same manner and to the same extent as the 2007 Resolutions apply to ISE LLC.17 Accordingly, the Supplemental Resolutions, which are included in the Form 1 Applications, extend to EDGX and EDGA the commitments that the non-U.S. Upstream Owners made in the 2007 Resolutions with respect to ISE LLC.18

In addition, the Commission has approved changes to the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate and U.S. Exchange Holdings Bylaws, and to the ISE Holdings Certificate and ISE Holdings Bylaws, that apply these governing documents to any national securities exchange, or facility thereof, that U.S. Exchange Holdings or ISE Holdings, as applicable, controls, directly or indirectly, including EDGX and EDGA.19

The Commission believes that the Supplemental Resolutions, the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate and U.S. Exchange Holdings Bylaws, as amended, and the ISE Holdings Certificate and ISE Holdings Bylaws, as amended, will assist EDGX and EDGA in fulfilling their self-regulatory obligations and in administering and complying with the requirements of the Act, as discussed in greater detail below.20

3. Swiss Resolutions and the 2009 Procedure

As discussed more fully in the Eurex Order,21 Swiss law designed to protect Swiss sovereignty raised concerns about the ability of the Swiss Upstream Owners to provide the Commission with direct access to information, including books and records, related to the activities of ISE LLC.22 To avoid conflict with Swiss law and to facilitate the 2007 Transaction, the Commission and the Swiss Federal Banking Commission ("SFBC") developed a procedure (the "2007 Procedure") under which the SFBC undertook to serve as a conduit for unfiltered delivery of books and records of the Swiss Upstream Owners related to the activities of ISE LLC.23 Accordingly, each 2007 Resolution adopted by the Swiss Upstream Owners (the "2007 Swiss Resolutions") provided that, where necessitated by Swiss law, a Swiss Upstream Owner would provide information related to the activities of ISE LLC, including the books and records of such owner related to the activities of ISE LLC, to the Commission promptly through the SFBC.24 Moreover, oral exchanges between each Swiss Upstream Owner and the Commission related to the activities of ISE LLC would include the participation of SFBC.25

By its terms, the 2007 Procedure applied solely to information of the Swiss Upstream Owners related to the activities of ISE LLC, including books and records related to the activities of ISE LLC. To accommodate the Swiss Upstream Owners' indirect ownership and voting interest in EDGX and EDGA, the Commission and FINMA (the successor to the SFBC) have developed a procedure (the "2009 Procedure") that is substantially similar to the 2007 Procedure, except that it will apply to any U.S. securities exchange, or facility thereof, that ISE Holdings controls, directly or indirectly, including EDGX and EDGA. The 2009 Procedure, which will become effective upon the Commission's approval of the Exchanges' Form 1 applications, will supersede the 2007 Procedure.

Under the 2009 Procedure, FINMA would serve as a conduit for the delivery of information of the Swiss Upstream Owners related to the activities of any registered national securities exchange controlled, directly or indirectly, by ISE Holdings, including EDGX and EDGA. The Commission's usual practice is to have direct access to books and records related to the activities of a U.S. securities exchange. However, subject to the condition that the Swiss Upstream Owners will promptly deliver such information to the Commission,26 coupled with the fact that under Bylaws of the Exchanges, all trading records of the Exchanges must be maintained in the United States,27 the Commission believes that the provisions of the 2007 Resolutions adopted by the Swiss Upstream Owners, as supplemented by the Supplemental Resolutions adopted by the Swiss Upstream Owners, related to the Commission's access to the books and records of the Swiss Upstream Owners through FINMA, should not result in a level of access materially different from that agreed to by other entities that control U.S. securities exchanges.28

4. Trust Agreement

In connection with the 2007 Transaction, ISE implemented a Delaware statutory Trust (the "Trust") pursuant to a Trust Agreement ("2007 Trust Agreement") among ISE Holdings, U.S. Exchange Holdings, trustees (the "Trustees"), and a Delaware trustee.29 By its terms, the 2007 Trust Agreement related solely to ISE Holdings' ownership of ISE LLC, but not to any other national securities exchange that ISE Holdings might control, directly or indirectly. The Commission has approved a proposal30 that revises the 2007 Trust Agreement to replace references to ISE LLC with references to any national securities exchange or facility thereof controlled, directly or indirectly, by ISE Holdings, including EDGX and EDGA (the 2007 Trust Agreement, as amended, is referred to herein as the "2009 Trust Agreement").31 Except for the expanded scope of the 2007 Trust Agreement, the 2009 Trust Agreement is substantially similar to the 2007 Trust Agreement.

The Trust serves two general purposes. First, for as long as ISE Holdings controls, directly or indirectly, a national securities exchange, including EDGA or EDGA, the Trust would hold capital stock of ISE Holdings in the event that a person obtains an ownership or voting interest in ISE Holdings in excess of the ownership and voting limits established in the ISE Holdings Certificate of Incorporation.32 Second, the Trust would hold capital stock of ISE Holdings in the event of a Material Compliance Event.33 Under the 2009 Trust Agreement, a "Material Compliance Event" is any state of facts, development, event, circumstance, condition, occurrence, or effect that results in the failure of any of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners to adhere to its respective commitments under the 2007 Resolutions, as supplemented by the Supplemental Resolutions, in any material respect.34 The Trust holds a call option over the capital stock of ISE Holdings that may be exercised if a Material Compliance Event has occurred and continues to be in effect.35

For the reasons discussed in the Eurex Order in connection with the 2007 Trust Agreement,36 the Commission finds that the 2009 Trust Agreement is designed to enable EDGX and EDGA to operate in a manner that complies with the federal securities laws, including the objectives and requirements of sections 6(b) and 19(g) of the Act,37 and to facilitate the ability of EDGX and EDGA and the Commission to fulfill their regulatory and oversight obligations under the Act.38 In addition, the Commission notes that the 2009 Trust Agreement, like the 2007 Trust Agreement, is consistent with the provisions that other entities that directly or indirectly own or control a self-regulatory organization have instituted and that have been approved by the Commission.39

B. Self-Regulatory Function of the Exchanges; Relationship Between DE Holdings, the Upstream Owners, ISE Holdings, and the Exchanges; Jurisdiction Over DE Holdings, ISE Holdings, and the Upstream Owners1. DE Holdings

Although DE Holdings itself will not itself carry out regulatory functions, its activities with respect to the operation of EDGX and EDGA must be consistent with, and not interfere with, the self-regulatory obligations of EDGX and EDGA. The DE Holdings corporate documents include certain provisions that are designed to maintain the independence of the Exchanges' self-regulatory function from DE Holdings, enable EDGX and EDGA to operate in a manner that complies with the federal securities laws, including the objectives of Sections 6(b) and 19(g) of the Act, and facilitate the ability of the Exchanges and the Commission to fulfill their regulatory and oversight obligations under the Act.40

For example, DE Holdings submits to the Commission's jurisdiction with respect to activities relating to EDGX and EDGA,41 and agrees to provide the Commission and the Exchanges with access to its books and records that are related to the operation or administration of the Exchanges.42 In addition, to the extent they are related to the operation or administration of EDGX or EDGA, the books, records, premises, officers, Managers, agents, and employees of DE Holdings shall be deemed the books, records, premises, officers, Managers, agents, and employees of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, for purposes of, and subject to oversight pursuant to, the Act.43 DE Holdings also agrees to keep confidential non-public information relating to the self-regulatory function44 of the Exchanges and not to use such information for any non-regulatory purpose.45 In addition, the Board of Managers of DE Holdings, as well as its officers, employees, and agents, are required to give due regard to the preservation of the independence of the self-regulatory function of EDGX and EDGA.46 Further, the DE Holdings Operating Agreement requires that any changes to the DE Holdings Operating Agreement be submitted to the Boards of Directors of EDGX and EDGA, and, if such amendment is required to be filed with the Commission pursuant to Section 19(b) of the Act, such change shall not be effective until filed with, or filed with and approved by, theCommission.47 The Commission finds that these provisions are consistent with the Act, and that they will assist EDGX and EDGA in fulfilling their self-regulatory obligations and in administering and complying with the requirements of the Act.

2. Upstream Owners and ISE Holdings

Although the Upstream Owners and ISE Holdings will not carry out any regulatory functions, the activities of each of the Upstream Owners and of ISE Holdings with respect to the operation of EDGX and EDGA must be consistent with, and not interfere with, the self-regulatory obligations of EDGX and EDGA. The 2007 Resolutions, as supplemented by the Supplemental Resolutions, the ISE Holdings Bylaws, the ISE Holdings Certificate, the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate, and the U.S. Exchange Holdings Bylaws include certain provisions designed to maintain the independence of the self-regulatory function of EDGX and EDGA, enable EDGX and EDGA to operate in a manner that complies with the U.S. federal securities laws, including the objectives and requirements of Sections 6(b) and 19(g) of the Act,48 and facilitate the ability of EDGX, EDGA, and the Commission to fulfill their regulatory and oversight obligations under the Act.

For example, the Upstream Owners and ISE Holdings provide that each such Upstream Owner, and ISE Holdings, will comply with the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder and cooperate with the Commission and EDGX and EDGA.49 Also, each board member, officer, and employee of the Upstream Owners, and of ISE Holdings, in discharging his or her responsibilities, will comply with the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder, cooperate with the Commission, and cooperate with EDGX and EDGA.50 In discharging his or her responsibilities as a board member of an Upstream Owner, or of ISE Holdings, each such member must, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, take into consideration the effect that the actions of the Upstream Owner or ISE Holdings, as applicable, would have on the ability of EDGX and EDGA to carry out their responsibilities under the Act.51 In addition, each of the Upstream Owners and ISE Holdings, and their board members, officers, and employees, must give due regard to the preservation of the independence of the self-regulatory function of EDGX and EDGA (or in the case of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners, that they will take reasonable steps necessary to cause their officers and employees involved in the activities of EDGX and EDGA to give due regard to preserving the independence of the self-regulatory functions of EDGX and EDGA).52

Further, the non-U.S. Upstream Owners (along with their respective board members, officers, and employees), U.S. Exchange Holdings, and ISE Holdings agree to keep confidential, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, all confidential information pertaining to the self-regulatory function of EDGX and EDGA, including, but not limited to, confidential information regarding disciplinary matters, trading data, trading practices, and audit information, contained in the books and records of EDGX or EDGA and not use such information for any commercial53 purposes.54 In addition, books and records of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners related to the activities of EDGX and EDGA will at all times be made available for, and books and records of U.S. Exchange Holdings and ISE Holdings will be subject at all times to, inspection and copying by the Commission, EDGX, and EDGA.55 Books and records of U.S. Exchange Holdings related to the activities of EDGX and EDGA, and the books and records of ISE Holdings, will be maintained within the United States.56 Moreover, for so long as each of the Upstream Owners or ISE Holdings directly or indirectly controls EDGX or EDGA, the books, records, officers, directors (or equivalent), and employees of each of the Upstream Owners or of ISE Holdings will be deemed to be the books, records, officers, directors, and employees of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable.57 Finally, for so long as U.S. Exchange Holdings or ISE Holdings directly or indirectly control EDGX or EDGA, the premises of U.S. Exchange Holdings and ISE Holdings will be deemed to be the premises of EDGX or EDGA.58

To the extent involved in the activities of EDGX or EDGA, each of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners, its board members, officers, and employees, irrevocably submit to the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal courts and the Commission for purposes of any action arising out of, or relating to, the activities of EDGX or EDGA.59 Likewise, U.S. Exchange Holdings, its officers and directors, and employees whose principal place of business and residence is outside of the United States, to the extent such directors, officers, or employees are involved in the activities of EDGX or EDGA, irrevocably submit to the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal courts and the Commission for purposes of any action arising out of, or relating to, the activities of EDGX or EDGA.60 Similarly, ISE Holdings and its officers, directors, employees, and agents irrevocably submit to the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal courts and the Commission for purposes of any action arising out of, or relating to, EDGX or EDGA.61

Finally, the 2007 Resolutions, as supplemented by the Supplemental Resolutions, the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate, the U.S. Exchange Holdings Bylaws, the ISE Holdings Certificate, and the ISE Holdings Bylaws each require that any change to the applicable document (including any action by the non-U.S. UpstreamOwners that would have the effect of changing the Supplemental Resolutions or the 2007 Resolutions) be submitted to the Boards of EDGX and EDGA.62 If such change must be filed with, or filed with and approved by, the Commission under Section 19 of the Act,63 and the rules thereunder, then such change shall not be effective until filed with, or filed with and approved by, the Commission.64 The Commission finds that these provisions are consistent with the Act, and that they will assist EDGX and EDGA in fulfilling their self-regulatory obligations and in administering and complying with the requirements of the Act.

3. Controlling Persons

Under Section 20(a) of the Act, any person with a controlling interest in EDGX or EDGA would be jointly and severally liable with and to the same extent that EDGX or EDGA is liable under any provision of the Act, unless the controlling person acted in good faith and did not directly or indirectly induce the act or acts constituting the violation or cause of action. In addition, Section 20(e) of the Act creates aiding and abetting liability for any person who knowingly provides substantial assistance to another person in violation of any provision of the Act or rule thereunder. Further, section 21C of the Act authorizes the Commission to enter a cease-and-desist order against any person who has been "a cause of" a violation of any provision of the Act through an act or omission that the person knew or should have known would contribute to the violation. These provisions are applicable to all entities controlling the Exchanges, including the Trust, DE Holdings, ISE Holdings, and the Upstream Owners.

C. Ownership and Voting Limitations; Changes in Control of the Exchanges

The DE Holdings Certificate includes restrictions on the ability to own and vote shares of the capital stock of DE Holdings.65 These limitations are designed to prevent any Member of DE Holdings from exercising undue control over the operation of the Exchanges and to assure that the Exchanges and the Commission are able to carry out their regulatory obligations under the Act. Similarly, the corporate governing documents of ISE Holdings include ownership and voting limitations (respectively, the "ISE Holdings Ownership Limit" and the "ISE Holdings Voting Limit") that apply for so long as ISE Holdings controls, directly or indirectly, a national securities exchange, including EDGX or EDGA. The Resolutions and Supplemental Resolutions of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners, and the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate of Incorporation, include provisions requiring these entities to take reasonable steps necessary to cause ISE Holdings to be in compliance with the ISE Holdings Ownership Limit and the ISE Holdings Voting Limit.

1. DE Holdings

Generally, no person, other than ISE Holdings, either alone or together with its related persons,66 may own, directly or indirectly, of record or beneficially, Units representing more than a 40% Percentage Interest in DE Holdings.67 In addition, the DE Holdings Operating Agreement prohibits members of the EDGX or EDGA, either alone or together with their related persons, from owning, directly or indirectly, of record or beneficially, Units representing a Percentage Interest in DE Holdings of more than 20%.68 Further, no person, other than ISE Holdings, either alone or together with its related persons, may vote or cause the voting of Units representing more than a 20% Percentage Interest in DE Holdings.69 If any Member of DE Holdings purports to transfer Units in violation of the ownership limits, or to vote or cause the voting of Units in violation of the voting limits, DE Holdings has the right to redeem such Units for the lesser of the fair market value or the book value of the Units.70 In addition, DE Holdings will not honor any vote that would violate the voting limitations, and any Units that would violate the voting limitation will not be entitled to vote to the extent of the violation.71

The DE Holdings Board may waive the 40% ownership limitation applicable to persons who are not Exchange members and the 20% voting limitation pursuant to an amendment to the DE Holdings Operating Agreement adopted by the DE Holdings Board if the DE Holdings Board makes certain findings.72 Any such amendment will not be effective unless it is filed with and approved by the Commission.73 However, as long as DE Holdings directly or indirectly controls an Exchange, the DE Holdings Board may not waive the ownership and voting limitations above 20% for Exchange members or their related persons.74

Exchange members that trade on an exchange traditionally have ownership interests in such exchange. As the Commission has noted in the past, however, a member's interest in an exchange could become so large as to cast doubt on whether the exchange can fairly and objectively exercise its self-regulatory responsibilities with respect to that member.75 A member that is a controlling shareholder of an exchangemight be tempted to exercise that controlling influence by directing the exchange to refrain from, or the exchange may hesitate to, diligently monitor and surveil the member's conduct or diligently enforce its rules and the federal securities laws with respect to conduct by the member that violates such provisions.

In addition, as proposed, the Exchanges will be wholly-owned subsidiaries of DE Holdings. The Amended and Restated Bylaws of EDGX and EDGA (together, the "Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws") identify this ownership structure.76 Any changes to the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws, including any change in the provision that identifies DE Holdings as the initial owner of the Exchanges, must be filed with and approved by the Commission pursuant to Section 19 of the Act.77

The Commission believes that these provisions are consistent with the Act. These requirements should minimize the potential that a person could improperly interfere with or restrict the ability of the Commission or the Exchanges to effectively carry out their regulatory oversight responsibilities under the Act.

In its comment letter, Nasdaq raises questions relating to the ownership and control of EDGX and EDGA, in particular, and of national securities exchanges in general. In this regard, Nasdaq urges the Commission to re-examine the voting and ownership limits applicable to owners of national securities exchanges and to adopt consistent rules that would apply to all national securities exchanges and alternative trading systems.78 In addition, Nasdaq asks the Commission to consider the possibility that multiple owners, each holding a 20% ownership interest, could have common interests that cause them to act in concert on a consistent basis.79 In the case of EDGX and EDGA, Nasdaq believes that "the bias inherent in concentrated dealer control" could affect the operation of the Exchanges and of their Member/owners, thereby requiring the Commission to review all proposed rule changes of the Exchanges for possible bias.80

As discussed above,81 the DE Holdings Operating Agreement includes restrictions on the ability to own and vote Units in DE Holdings. The Commission believes that these limitations, which are consistent with the ownership and voting limits that the Commission has approved for other SROs,82 are reasonably designed to prevent any member of DE Holdings, including the Member/owners, from exercising undue control over the operation of the Exchanges. In addition, the Commission believes that the composition of the Exchanges' Boards of Directors, which must at all times include a majority of Independent Directors, could help to counteract the influence of the Exchanges' Member/owners.83 With respect to Nasdaq's concern regarding the need to scrutinize proposed rule changes of EDGX and EDGA for possible bias in favor of the Exchanges' Member/owners, the Commission notes that that it will review proposed rule changes by the Exchanges, as it reviews the proposed rule changes of all other national securities exchanges, to evaluate whether the proposed rules are consistent with Act, in general, and, in particular, with the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act.84

Nasdaq also expresses concern regarding potential unfair advantages resulting from exchanges of information between the Exchanges and their Member/owners.85 In particular, Nasdaq questions how the Exchanges will implement the provisions of Exchange Rules 2.10 and 2.1186 and Exchange Amended and Restated Bylaws Article XI which, among other things, restrict the flow of confidential information between the Exchanges and other persons, in light of the potential presence of representatives of each of the controlling owners on the Exchange Boards. The Commission notes that Exchange Rules 2.10 and 2.11 are comparable to rules adopted by other national securities exchanges87 and that Article XI, Section 3 of the Exchange Amended and Restated Bylaws is comparable to bylaw provisions adopted by other national securities exchanges.88 The Commission notes that each Exchange, like all national securities exchanges, has the obligation under Section 6(b)(1) of the Act to comply with its rules and to enforce compliance by Exchange Members with, among other things, the rules of the Exchange and the federal securities laws. Accordingly, if either Exchange learns of a failure to maintain the confidentiality of information pertaining to its self-regulatory function, as required by the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws and the DE Holdings Operating Agreement, such Exchange would be required to take appropriate action to address the failure to comply with the applicable requirements of its governing documents. In addition, the Commission also monitors national securities exchanges with respect to their members' compliance with the rules of the exchange.

2. ISE Holdings and the Upstream Owners(a) ISE Holdings

The governing documents of ISE Holdings also include ownership and voting limitations that apply for so long as ISE Holdings controls, directly or indirectly, a national securities exchange (a "Controlled National Securities Exchange"), or facility thereof, including EDGX or EDGA. In particular, the ISE Holdings Certificate provides that, for so long as ISE Holdings controls, directly or indirectly, a Controlled National Securities exchange, no person, either alone or together with its related persons, may own, directly or indirectly, of record or beneficially, more than 40% (or 20% if the person is a member of an exchange controlled by ISE Holdings) of the capital stock of ISE Holdings that has the right by its terms to vote in the election of the Board of Directors of ISE Holdings ("ISE Holdings Board") or on other matters (other than matters affecting the rights, preferences, orprivileges of the capital stock) ("ISE Holdings Ownership Limit").89 In addition, for so long as ISE Holdings controls, directly or indirectly, a Controlled National Securities Exchange, no person, either alone or together with its related persons, may, directly or indirectly, vote or cause the voting of more than 20% of the ISE Holdings capital stock that has the right by its terms to vote in the election of the ISE Holdings Board or on other matters (other than matters affecting the rights, preferences, or privileges of the capital stock) ("ISE Holdings Voting Limit").90

Article XI of the ISE Holdings Bylaws, which originally was adopted in connection with the Eurex Transaction, waives the ISE Holdings Ownership Limits and the ISE Holdings Voting Limits to allow the Upstream Owners to own and vote all of the common stock of ISE Holdings.91 Article XI, Section 11.1(b) states that, in waiving the ISE Holdings Ownership Limits and the ISE Holdings Voting Limits to permit the Upstream Owners to own and vote the capital stock of ISE Holdings, the ISE Holdings Board has determined, with respect to each Upstream Owner, that: (i) Such waiver will not impair the ability of ISE Holdings and each Controlled National Securities Exchange to carry our their respective functions and responsibilities under the Act; (ii) such waiver is in the best interests of ISE Holdings, its stockholders, and each Controlled National Securities Exchange; (iii) such waiver will not impair the ability of the Commission to enforce the Act; (iv) neither the Upstream Owner nor any of its related persons is subject to a statutory disqualification (within the meaning of Section 3(a)(39) of the Act); and (v) neither the Upstream Owner nor any of its related persons is a member of such Controlled National Securities Exchange.

Because Article XI, Section 11.1(b) requires the ISE Holdings Board, in waiving the ISE Holdings Ownership Limit and the ISE Holdings Voting Limit, to have determined, with respect to each Upstream Owner, that, among other things, such waiver will not impair the ability of EDGX and EDGA to carry out their functions and responsibilities under the Act, or impair the Commission's ability to enforce the Act, the Commission believes that the Upstream Owners' exercise of ownership and voting control of ISE Holdings will not impair the ability of the Commission or of EDGX and EDGA to discharge their respective responsibilities under the Act.

(b) Upstream Owners

To facilitate compliance with the ISE Holdings Ownership Limit and the ISE Holdings Voting Limit, the Resolutions of the non-U.S. Upstream Owners, as supplemented by the Supplemental Resolutions, provide that each such owner will take reasonable steps necessary to cause ISE Holdings to be in compliance with the ISE Holdings Ownership Limit and the ISE Holdings Voting Limit.92 Likewise, the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate provides that, for so long as U.S. Exchange Holdings directly or indirectly controls a national securities exchange, including EDGX or EDGA, U.S. Exchange Holdings will take reasonable steps necessary to cause ISE Holdings to be in compliance with the ISE Holdings Ownership Limit and the ISE Holdings Voting Limit.93 The Commission believes that these provisions in the Resolutions, as supplemented by the Supplemental Resolutions, and in the U.S. Exchange Holdings Certificate should minimize the potential that a person could improperly interfere with, or restrict the ability of, the Commission or EDGX or EDGA to effectively carry out their regulatory responsibilities under the Act.

D. EDGX and EDGA

EDGX and EDGA each have applied to the Commission to register as a national securities exchange. As part of their exchange applications, EDGX and EDGA have filed their Certificates of Incorporation (together, the "Exchange Certificates") and the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws.94 In these documents, among other things, the Exchanges establish the composition of their respective Boards of Directors (each, an "Exchange Board," and, together, the "Exchange Boards") and the committees of the Exchanges.

1. Exchange Boards

Each Exchange Board will be the governing body of its Exchange and will possess all of the powers necessary for the management of the business and affairs of the Exchange and the execution of the Exchange's responsibilities as a self-regulatory organization ("SRO"). Under the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws, each Exchange Board initially will be composed of 19 Directors, including:95

* The Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable;96

* Four Owner Directors;97

* Ten Independent Directors;98 and

* Four Exchange Member Directors.99

In addition, at all times, at least 20% of the Directors of each Exchange Board will be Exchange Member Directors and the majority of the Directors of each Exchange Board will be Independent Directors.100

Following approval of the Form 1 Applications, DE Holdings, as the sole owner of the common stock of the Exchanges, will elect Directors in accordance with the Exchange Certificates and the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws.101 The first annual meeting of the stockholders of each Exchange will be held prior to the Exchanges' commencement of operations as national securities exchanges.102 At the first annual stockholders' meeting, the stockholders will elect Directors of the Exchanges pursuant to the Exchange Certificates and the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws. Therefore, prior to commencing operations as national securities exchanges, the Members of the Exchanges will have the opportunity to participate in the selection of Exchange Member Directors.103

DE Holdings will appoint the initial Nominating Committee104 and the Exchange Member Nominating Committee105 for each Exchange, which will serve until the first annual meeting of stockholders.106 Each of the Nominating Committee and the Exchange Member Nominating Committee, after completion of its respective duties for nominating directors for election to the Board of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, for that year, will nominate candidates to serve on the succeeding year's Nominating Committee or Member Nominating Committee, as applicable.107 Additional candidates for the Member Nominating Committee may be nominated and elected by each Exchange's Members pursuant to a petition process.108

Each Exchange's Nominating Committee will nominate candidates for each director position (other than Owner Directors, Exchange Member Directors, and the director position filled by the CEO), and DE Holdings, as the sole shareholder, will elect those directors. Each Exchange's Member Nominating Committee will nominate candidates for each Exchange Member Director on the Exchange Board.109 Members of EDGX and EDGA may nominate additional candidates for the Exchange Member Director positions pursuant to a petition process.110 If no candidates are nominated pursuant to a petition process, then each Exchange's Nominating Committee will nominate the initial nominees of the Member Nominating Committee as Exchange Member Directors.111 If a petition process produces additional candidates, then the candidates nominated pursuant to the petition process, together with those nominated by each Exchange's Member Nominating Committee, will be presented to Exchange Members for election to determine the final nomination of Exchange Member Directors.112 Each Exchange's Nominating Committee will nominate the candidates who receive the most votes as Exchange Member Directors.113 DE Holdings, as the sole shareholder, will elect those candidates nominated by each Exchange's Nominating Committee as Exchange Member Directors.114

The Commission believes that the requirement in the Exchanges Amended and Restated By-Laws that 20% of the directors be Exchange Member Directors and the means by which they are chosen by Members provides for the fair representation of members in the selection of directors and the administration of the Exchanges consistent with the requirement in Section 6(b)(3) of the Act.115 As the Commission has previously noted, this requirement helps to ensure that members have a voice in the use of self-regulatory authority, and that an exchange is administered in a way that is equitable to all those who trade on its market or through its facilities.116

The Commission has previously stated its belief that the inclusion of public, non-industry representatives on exchange oversight bodies is critical to an exchange's ability to protect the public interest.117 Further, public, non-industry representatives help to ensure that no single group of market participants has the ability to systematically disadvantage other market participants through the exchange governance process. The Commission believes that public directors can provide unique, unbiased perspectives, which should enhance the ability of the Exchange Boards to address issues in a non-discriminatory fashion and foster the integrity of the Exchanges.118 The Commission believes that the composition of the Exchange Boards satisfy the requirements in Section 6(b)(3) of the Act,119 which requires that one or more directors be representative of issuers and investors and not be associated with a member of the exchange, or with a broker or dealer.120

2. Exchange Committees

In the Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws, the Exchanges have proposed to establish several committees. Specifically, each Exchange has proposed to establish the following committees whose members the Exchange Boards, after consultation with the Chairman, may designate: a Compensation Committee;121 an AuditCommittee;122 an Executive Committee;123 a Regulatory Oversight Committee; and an Appeals Committee.124 In addition, each Exchange has proposed to establish a Nominating Committee125 and a Member Nominating Committee, which will be elected on an annual basis by a vote of the stockholders.126 For the reasons discussed above, the Commission believes that the Exchanges' proposed committees should enable the Exchanges to carry out their responsibilities under the Act and are consistent with the Act.

E. Regulation of EDGX and EDGA

As a prerequisite for the Commission's approval of an exchange's application for registration, an exchange must be organized and have the capacity to carry out the purposes of the Act.127 Among other requirements, an exchange must be able to enforce compliance by its members, and persons associated with its members, with the federal securities laws and the rules of the exchange.128

1. Membership

Membership on the Exchanges will be open to any registered broker or dealer that is a member of another registered national securities exchange or association, or any natural person associated with such a registered broker or dealer.129 To be eligible for membership in the Exchanges, a person must be, and remain, a member of another registered national securities exchange or association.130

For a temporary 90-day period after approval of the Exchanges' Form 1 Applications, an applicant that is an active member of another registered national securities exchange or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. ("FINRA") and is a current or former subscriber to DECN will be able to apply through an expedited process to become a member of one or both Exchanges, and to register with the Exchange(s) all of its associated persons whose registrations are active at the time the Exchanges are approved as national securities exchanges, by submitting waive-in application forms, including membership agreements.131 EDGX or EDGA may request additional documentation in addition to the waive-in application form in order to determine whether a waive-in applicant meets the Exchange's qualification standards.132 All of the firm's associated persons who are registered in categories recognized by Exchange rules would become registered persons of an Exchange member firm.133

All other applicants (and after the 90-day period has ended, those that could have waived in through the expedited process) may apply for membership in one or both Exchanges by submitting a full membership application to the Exchange(s).134 Applications for association with an Exchange Member shall be submitted to the Exchange(s) on Form U-4 and such other forms as the Exchanges may prescribe.135

Each Exchange will receive and review all applications for membership in the Exchange. If an Exchange is satisfied that the applicant is qualified for membership, the Exchange will promptly notify the applicant, in writing, of such determination, and the applicant will be a member of the Exchange.136 If an Exchange is not satisfied that the applicant is qualified for membership, the Exchange shall promptly notify the applicant of the grounds for denial.137 Once an applicant is a member of an Exchange, it must continue to possess all the qualifications set forth in the Exchange's rules. When an Exchange has reason to believe that an Exchange member or associated person of a member fails to meet such qualifications, the Exchange may suspend or revoke such person's membership or association.138

Appeal of a staff denial, suspension, or termination of membership will be heard by the Appeals Committee of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable.139 Decisions of the Appeals Committee will be made in writing and will be sent to the parties to the proceeding.140 The decisions of the Appeals Committee will be subject to review by the applicable Exchange Board, on its own motion, or upon written request by the aggrieved party or by the Chief Regulatory Officer ("CRO").141 The Exchange Board will have sole discretion to grant or deny the request.142 The Exchange Board will conduct the review of the Appeals Committee's decision and may affirm, reverse, or modify the Appeals Committee's decision.143 An Exchange Board's decision is final.144

The Commission finds that the membership rules of EDGX and EDGA145 are consistent with section 6 of the Act,146 specifically section 6(b)(2) of the Act,147 which requires that a national securities exchange have rules that provide that any registered broker or dealer or natural person associated with such broker or dealer may become a member and any person may become associated with an exchange member. The Commission notes that pursuant to section 6(c) of the Act, an exchange must deny membership to any person, other than a natural person, that is not a registered broker or dealer, any natural person that is not, or is not associated with, a registered broker or dealer, and registered broker-dealers that do not satisfy certain standards, such as financial responsibility or operational capacity. As registered exchanges, the Exchanges must independently determine if an applicant satisfies the standards set forth in the Act, regardless of whether an applicant is a member of another SRO.148

2. Regulatory Independence

Each Exchange has proposed several measures to help ensure the independence of its regulatory function from its market operations and other commercial interests. The regulatory operations of each Exchange will be supervised by the Exchange's CRO and monitored by its Regulatory Oversight Committee.149 The Regulatory Oversight Committees of each Exchange will consist of three members, each of whom must be an Independent Director.150 Each Exchange's Regulatory Oversight Committee will be responsible for monitoring the adequacy and effectiveness of the Exchange's regulatory program, assessing the Exchange's regulatory performance, and assisting the Exchange Board in reviewing the Exchange's regulatory plan and the overall effectiveness of the Exchange's regulatory functions.151 Each Exchange's Regulatory Oversight Committee also will meet with the Exchange's CRO in executive session at regularly scheduled meetings and at any time upon request of the CRO or any member of the Regulatory Oversight Committee.152

Each Exchange proposes that its CRO have general supervision of the regulatory operations of the Exchange, including overseeing surveillance, examination, and enforcement functions.153 The CRO also will administer any regulatory services agreement with another SRO to which the Exchange is a party.154 The CRO of each Exchange will be an Executive Vice President or Senior Vice President of the Exchange, and also may serve as the Exchange's General Counsel.155

In addition, each Exchange has taken steps designed to provide sufficient funding for the Exchange to carry out its responsibilities under the Act. Specifically, each Exchange has represented that: (1) DE Holdings will allocate sufficient operational assets and make a capital contribution to the Exchange's capital account prior to the launch of the Exchange; (2) such an allocation and contribution will be adequate to operate the Exchange, including the regulation of the Exchange; and (3) there will be an explicit agreement between the Exchange and DE Holdings that requires DE Holdings to provide adequate funding for each Exchange's operations, including the regulation of the Exchange.156 In addition, the Amended and Restated Bylaws of each Exchange provides that revenues received by the Exchange from fees derived from its regulatory function or regulatory penalties will not be used for non-regulatory purposes or distributed to the stockholders, but rather, will be applied to fund the legal and regulatory operations of the Exchange (including surveillance and enforcement activities), or will be used to pay restitution and disgorgement of funds intended for customers.157

3. Regulatory Contracts

Although the Exchanges will be SROs with all of the attendant regulatory obligations under the Act, EDGX and EDGA each have stated that they entered into a regulatory contract with FINRA and a regulatory contract with ISE LLC (each, a "Regulatory Contract," and, together, the "Regulatory Contracts"), under which FINRA and ISE will perform certain regulatory functions on behalf of EDGX and EDGA.158 Specifically, each Exchange states that FINRA will assist Exchange staff on registration issues on an as-needed basis, investigate potential violations of each Exchange's rules or federal securities laws related to activity on the Exchange, conduct examinations related to market conduct on the Exchange by Members, assist the Exchanges with disciplinary proceedings pursuant to each Exchange's rules, including issuing charges and conducting hearings, and provide dispute resolution services to Exchange Members on behalf of the Exchanges, including operation of each Exchange's arbitration program. Each Exchange also represents that FINRA will provide the Exchange with access to FINRA's WebCRD system, and will assist with programming Exchange-specific functionality relating to such system.159 With respect to the Regulatory Contracts with ISE, each Exchange states that ISE will perform surveillance including, but not limited to, reviews respecting trading through protected quotes, locked and crossed markets, manipulation, wash trades, marking the close, customer complaints, frontrunning, trading ahead of customer orders, and anti-spoofing.160 Notwithstanding the Regulatory Contracts, each Exchange acknowledges it will retain ultimate legal responsibility for the regulation of its members and its market.161

The Commission believes that it is consistent with the Act to allow the Exchanges to contract with FINRA and ISE to perform examination, enforcement, and disciplinary functions.162 These functions are fundamental elements to a regulatory program, and constitute core self-regulatory functions. The Commission believes that FINRA and ISE have the expertise and experience to perform these functions on behalf of the Exchanges.163

At the same time, each Exchange, unless relieved by the Commission of its responsibility,164 bears the ultimate responsibility for self-regulatory responsibilities and primary liability for self-regulatory failures, not the SRO retained to perform regulatory functions on the Exchange's behalf. In performing these regulatory functions, however, the SROs retained to perform regulatory functions may nonetheless bear liability for causing or aiding and abetting the failure of EDGX or EDGA to perform itsregulatory functions.165 Accordingly, although FINRA and ISE will not act on their own behalf under their SRO responsibilities in carrying out these regulatory services for the Exchanges, as SROs retain to perform regulatory functions, they may have secondary liability if, for example, the Commission finds that the contracted functions are being performed so inadequately as to cause a violation of the federal securities laws by EDGX or EDGA.166

Because the exhibits to the Regulatory Contacts, including the Exchange and Commission rules covered by the Regulatory Contracts, have not yet been finalized, the Commission is conditioning the operation of EDGX and EDGA as exchanges on the finalization of the provisions in the Regulatory Contracts that will specify the Exchange and Commission rules for which FINRA and ISE will provide regulatory functions.167

4. 17d-2 Agreement

Section 19(g)(1) of the Act168 requires every SRO to examine its members and persons associated with its members and to enforce compliance with the federal securities laws and the SRO's own rules, unless the SRO is relieved of this responsibility pursuant to section 17(d) of the Act.169 Section 17(d) was intended, in part, to eliminate unnecessary multiple examinations and regulatory duplication with respect to members of more than one SRO ("common members").170 Rule 17d-2 of the Act permits SROs to propose joint plans allocating regulatory responsibilities concerning common members.171 These agreements, which must be filed with and approved by the Commission, generally cover such regulatory functions as personnel registration, branch office examinations, and sales practices. Commission approval of a Rule 17d-2 plan relieves the specified SRO of those regulatory responsibilities allocated by the plan to another SRO.172 Many existing SROs have entered into such agreements.173

EDGX and EDGA each have represented to the Commission that each Exchange and FINRA intend to file Rule 17d-2 agreements with the Commission covering common members of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, and FINRA. These agreements would allocate to FINRA regulatory responsibility, with respect to common members, for the following:

* FINRA will examine common members of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, and FINRA for compliance with federal securities laws, rules and regulations, and rules of the Exchange that the Exchange has certified as identical or substantially similar to FINRA rules.

* FINRA will investigate common members of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, and FINRA for violations of federal securities laws, rules or regulations, or Exchange rules that the Exchange has certified as identical or substantially identical to a FINRA rule.

* FINRA will enforce compliance by common members with the federal securities laws, rules and regulations, and the rules of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, that the Exchange has certified as identical or substantially similar to FINRA rules.

Because EDGX and EDGA anticipate entering into this Rule 17d-2 agreement, they have not made provision to fulfill the regulatory obligations that would be undertaken by FINRA under these agreements with respect to common members of EDGX or EDGA, as applicable, and FINRA.174 Accordingly, the Commission is conditioning the operation of the Exchanges on approval by the Commission of the Rule 17d-2 agreements between each Exchange and FINRA that allocate the above specified matters to FINRA.175

5. Discipline and Oversight of Members

As noted above, as a prerequisite for Commission approval of an exchange's application for registration, an exchange must be organized and have the capacity to carry out the purposes of the Act. Among other requirements, an exchange must be able to enforce compliance by its members and persons associated with its members with federal securities laws and the rules of the exchange.176 As noted above, pursuant to the Regulatory Contracts, FINRA will perform many of the initial disciplinary processes on behalf of the Exchanges.177 For example, FINRA will investigate potential securities laws violations, issue complaints, and conduct hearings pursuant to the rules of the Exchanges. Appeals from disciplinary decisions will be heard by each Exchange's Appeals Committee,178 and the Appeals Committee's decision shall be final. In addition, each Exchange Board may on its own initiative order review of a disciplinary decision.179

The Exchanges Amended and Restated Bylaws and the Exchanges' rules provide that each Exchange has disciplinary jurisdiction over its members so that it can enforce its members' compliance with its rules and the federal securities laws.180 Each Exchange's rules also permit it to sanction members for violations of its rules and violations of the federal securities laws and rules by, among other things, expelling or suspending members, limiting members' activities, functions, or operations, fining or censuring members, or suspending or barring a person from being associated with a member, or any other fitting sanction.181 Each Exchange's rules also provide for the imposition of fines for certain minor rule violations in lieu of commencing disciplinary proceedings.182 Accordingly, as a condition to the operation of the Exchanges, a Minor Rule Violation Plan ("MRVP") filed by each Exchange underAct Rule 19d-1(c)(2) must be declared effective by the Commission.183

The Commission finds that the Exchanges Amended and Restated By-Laws and the rules of each Exchange concerning the Exchange's disciplinary and oversight programs are consistent with the requirements of sections 6(b)(6) and 6(b)(7)184 of the Act in that they provide fair procedures for the disciplining of members and persons associated with members. The Commission further finds that the rules of EDGX and EDGA are designed to provide the Exchanges with the ability to comply, and with the authority to enforce compliance by their members and persons associated with their membe

By the Commission.
Florence E. Harmon, Deputy Secretary.
ACTION: 25215 U.S.C 78s(b).