Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Exchange proposes to amend one aspect of the administration of income generated by Payment for Order Flow fees which are assessed under Section II of the Pricing Schedule which pertains to Multiply Listed Options fees.
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.
The purpose of this filing is to streamline the Exchange's administration of its payment for order flow ("PFOF") program, by allowing the Exchange to consolidate on its books two separate pools of PFOF funds per Specialist
The Exchange's PFOF program helps its Specialists and Directed Registered Options Traders ("Directed ROTs")
These PFOF Fees are available to be disbursed by the Exchange according to the instructions of the Specialists or Directed ROTs to order flow providers who are members or member organizations, who submit, as agent, customer orders to the Exchange or non-members or non-member organizations who submit, as agent, customer orders to the Exchange through a member or member organization who is acting as agent for those customer orders. Any excess PFOF funds billed but not utilized by the Specialist or Directed ROT are carried forward unless the Directed ROT or Specialist elects to have those funds rebated to the applicable ROT, Directed ROT or Specialist on a pro rata basis, reflected as a credit on the monthly invoices. At the end of each calendar quarter, the Exchange calculates the amount of excess funds from the previous quarter and subsequently rebates excess funds on a pro-rata basis to the applicable ROT, Directed ROT or Specialist who paid into that pool of funds.
The Exchange provides administrative support for the PFOF program by maintaining the funds generated by PFOF fees, keeping track of the number of qualified orders each Specialist and Directed ROT has directed to the Exchange, and making payments to order flow providers on behalf of, and at the direction of, the Specialist or Directed ROT. The Exchange collects and holds the funds generated by the PFOF fees to be disbursed according to the instructions of the Specialists or Directed ROTs to order flow providers as stated above. The PFOF fees are collected by the Exchange for use by these Specialists and Directed ROTs to attract Customer orders to the Exchange from order flow providers that accept payment as a factor in making their order routing decisions.
The Exchange currently maintains on its books individual pools of PFOF funds for each Directed ROT and Specialist participating in the PFOF program. Further, the Exchange maintains two separate pools of funds for each Specialist who elects to participate in the PFOF program.
The Exchange originally established the separate "Directed ROT" pool and "Specialist" pool for each Specialist for purposes of transparency when Directed ROTs were first permitted, like Specialists, to opt in to the PFOF program and to use the funds generated by the fee applicable to Directed Orders to pay order flow providers, to attract orders to the Exchange.
Specialists also became eligible to receive Directed Orders. Having two separate pools for Specialists reflecting (a) PFOF fees attributable to undirected Orders (the "Specialist" pool), and (b) PFOF fees attributable to Directed Orders directed to the Specialist (the "Directed ROT" pool) provided transparency and clarity as to the source of the PFOF funds. Today, the need for transparency provided by two separate pools per Specialist is not as necessary, as Specialists receive significantly detailed PFOF marketing reports, driven by the enhanced technology and supporting automated processes that underscore the Exchange's billing and reporting systems.
Additionally, the report accompanying payments that the Exchange makes to order flow providers on behalf of the pool-owners specifies only the Specialist from which the funds are coming. The report does not identify the type of pool that is the source of the payment. From the Exchange's perspective, there is no benefit to maintaining the two separate types of pools on its books for each Specialist. Additionally, from an external perspective, based on the Exchange's interaction with Specialists who are pool-owners and with order-flow providers, the maintenance of separate pools of funds on the Exchange's books is no longer necessary. The single pool will be termed the PFOF pool.
Lastly, the above proposal will result in each Specialist or Directed ROT having only one PFOF pool. This will also streamline their administrative and accounting processes with regard to the information provided by the Exchange and instructions they in turn provide to the Exchange. To illustrate, assume Market Maker A
Phlx believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 6 of the Act,
The proposal is designed simply to eliminate an unnecessary administrative burden on the Exchange and its members, and to result in accounting and operational efficiencies for both. All Specialists opting into the PFOF program will be treated equally under the proposal and will realize the administrative benefits of the proposal uniformly.
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. The Exchange's proposal to combine the PFOF pools will simply result in administrative efficiencies for the Exchange and its members.
No written comments were either solicited or received.
Because the foregoing 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 for 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of 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: (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.
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing,
* Use the Commission's Internet comment form (
* Send an email to
* Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549.