Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Exchange proposes to amend its rules to eliminate position and exercise limits for physically-settled options on the SPDR S&P ETF Trust ("SPY") pursuant to a pilot program. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site
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 self-regulatory organization has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.
ISE proposes to amend Supplementary Material .01 to ISE Rule 412 and Supplementary Material .01 of ISE Rule 414 to eliminate position and exercise limits, respectively, for physically-settled SPY options pursuant to a pilot program. This filing is based on a filing previously submitted by NYSE MKT LLC (f/k/a NYSE Amex, LLC ("NYSE Amex")), which the Commission recently approved.
The Exchange began trading SPY options on January 10, 2005. That year, the position limit for these options was increased from 75,000 contracts to 300,000 contracts on the same side of the market.
The underlying SPY generally tracks the performance of the S&P 500 Index and the Exchange states that the SPY and SPY options have deep, liquid markets that reduce concerns regarding manipulation and disruption in the underlying markets. In support of this proposed rule change, the Exchange has collected the following trading statistics for SPY and SPY options: (1) The average daily volume ("ADV") to date (as of August 24, 2012) for SPY is 148 million shares; (2) the ADV to date in 2012 for SPY options is 2.6 million; (3) the total shares outstanding for SPY are 750.3 million; and (4) the fund market cap for SPY is $106 billion. The Exchange represents further that there is tremendous liquidity in the securities that make up the S&P 500 Index. For example, the ADV of the component securities in the S&P 500 Index for the 6-month period of February 28, 2012 through August 28, 2012 was 635,583,189.
Under the Exchange's proposal, the options reporting requirement for SPY options would continue unabated. Thus, the Exchange would still require that each Member that maintains a position in SPY options on the same side of the market, for its own account or for the account of a customer, report certain information to the Exchange. This information would include, but would not be limited to, the option position, whether such position is hedged and, if so, a description of the hedge, and the collateral used to carry the position, if applicable. Exchange market makers would continue to be exempt from this reporting requirement, as market maker information can be accessed through the Exchange's market surveillance systems. In addition, the general reporting requirement for customer accounts that maintain an aggregate position of 200 or more option contracts would remain at this level for SPY options.
In addition, ISE Rule 4.15(b) [sic] provides:
As the anniversary of listed options trading approaches its fortieth year, the Exchange believes that the existing surveillance procedures and reporting requirements at ISE, other options exchanges, and at the several clearing firms are capable of properly identifying unusual and/or illegal trading activity. In addition, routine oversight inspections of the Exchange's regulatory programs by the Commission have not uncovered any material inconsistencies or shortcomings in the manner in which the Exchange's market surveillance is conducted. These procedures utilize daily monitoring of market movements via automated surveillance techniques to identify unusual activity in both options and underlying stocks.
Furthermore, large stock holdings must be disclosed to the Commission by way of Schedules 13D or 13G.
The Exchange believes that the current financial requirements imposed by the Exchange and by the Commission adequately address concerns that a Member or its customer may try to maintain an inordinately large un-hedged position in an option, particularly on SPY. Current margin and risk-based haircut methodologies serve to limit the size of positions maintained by any one account by increasing the margin and/or capital that a Member must maintain for a large position held by itself or by its customer. In addition, the Commission's net capital rule, Rule 15c3-1
The Exchange proposes that this rule change be adopted pursuant to a pilot program, set to expire December 5, 2013.
Conditional on the findings in the Pilot Report, ISE will file with the Commission a proposal to either extend the pilot program, adopt the pilot program on a permanent basis, or terminate the pilot program. If the pilot program is not extended or adopted on a permanent basis by December 5, 2013, the position limits for SPY would revert to limits in effect at the commencement of the pilot program.
The Exchange believes that the elimination of position and exercise limits on SPY options on a pilot basis is required for competitive purposes as well as for purposes of consistency and uniformity among the competing options exchanges. This supports the Exchange's current proposal to eliminate the position and exercise limits applicable to physically-settled SPY options on a pilot basis.
The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Specifically, the proposed rule change will benefit large market makers (which generally have the greatest potential and actual liability [sic] to provide liquidity and depth I [sic] the product), as well as retail traders, investors, and public customers, by providing them with a more effective trading and hedging vehicle. In addition, the Exchange believes that the structure of SPY options and the considerable liquidity of the market for SPY options diminish the opportunity to manipulate this product and disrupt the underlying market that a lower position limit may protect against. The Exchange also believes that the proposed rule change will benefit a greater number of market participants who are ISE Members and members of other exchanges. This is because SPY is a multiply listed options class and currently there is not a uniform and consistent position and exercise limits regime across all of the exchanges that list SPY options. The proposed filing will benefit market participants because it will ensure consistency and uniformity among the competing options exchanges as to the position and exercise limits for a multiply listed options class.
ISE does not believe that this proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Exchange Act. In this regard and as indicated above, the Exchange notes that the rule change is being proposed as a competitive response to a NYSE Amex filing. ISE believes this proposed rule change is necessary to permit fair competition among the options exchanges and to establish uniform positions for a multiply listed options class.
The Exchange has not solicited, and does not intend to solicit, comments on this proposed rule change. The Exchange has not received any unsolicited written comments from members or other interested parties.
Because the proposed rule change does not: (i) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative prior to 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act
A proposed rule change filed pursuant to Rule 19b-4(f)(6) under the Act
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 necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.
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:
* Use the Commission's Internet comment form (
* Send an email to
* Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.
All submissions should refer to File Number SR-ISE-2012-81 and should be submitted on or before November 2, 2012.