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Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Chapter VI, Section 18 of the Exchange’s Options Rules

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 purpose of the proposed rule change is to amend and correct Chapter VI, Section 18 of the NOM Rulebook which describes Order Price Protection (“OPP”), a feature of the NOM trading system that prevents certain day limit, good till cancelled, and immediate or cancel orders at prices outside of pre-set standard limits from being accepted by the System. The amendments also remove language providing for the temporary deactivation of OPP from time to time on an intraday basis at the Exchange’s discretion if the Exchange determines that volatility warrants deactivation.

OPP applies to all options but does not apply to market orders or Intermarket Sweep Orders. OPP is operational each trading day after the opening until the close of trading, except during trading halts. Chapter VI, Section 18 also currently provides that the Exchange may temporarily deactivate OPP from time to time on an intraday basis at its discretion if it determines that volatility warrants deactivation. Participants are notified of intraday OPP deactivation due to volatility and any subsequent intraday reactivation by the Exchange through the issuance of system status messages.
OPP rejects incoming orders that exceed certain parameters. Currently, Chapter VI, Section 18(b) establishes those parameters with reference to the NBBO. It states that if the NBBO on the contra-side of an incoming order is greater than $1.00, orders with a limit more than 50% through such contraside NBBO will be rejected by the system upon receipt. For example, the rule provides that if the NBBO on the offer side is $1.10, an order to buy options for more than $1.65 would be rejected. Similarly, the rule states that if the NBBO on the bid side is $1.10, an order to sell options for less than $0.55 will be rejected. The rule provides that if the NBBO on the contra-side of an incoming order is less than or equal to $1.00, orders with a limit more than 100% through such contra-side NBBO will be rejected by the system upon receipt. For example, under the rule if the NBBO on the offer side is $1.00, an order to buy options for more than $2.00 would be rejected. However, the rule provides that if the NBBO of the bid side of an incoming order to sell is less than or equal to $1.00, the OPP limits set forth above will result in all incoming sell orders being accepted regardless of their limit.
The Exchange has determined that a discrepancy exists between this rule description of how the OPP process works and how the system actually functions in cases where Price Improving Orders are present. Price Improving Orders may be submitted in $0.01 increments on NOM rather than at the minimum price variation (“MPV”).
[3]

These Price Improving Orders are considered part of the Exchange’s internal market BBO at their non-MPV limit and are displayed at the allowable MPV price as part of the NBBO. While Chapter VI, Section 18 states that the NBBO is used for OPP determinations as described above, the system is actually basing OPP determinations on the better of (a) the NBBO, or (b) the Exchange’s internal market BBO, which may differ from the NBBO due to the presence of Price Improving Orders. The Exchange is proposing to correct this discrepancy by deleting the term “NBBO” in each instance where it appears in Chapter VI, Section 18 and replacing it with the term “Reference BBO” which will be defined in the rule as the better of the NBBO or the internal market BBO.

Finally, the Exchange is removing from Chapter VI, Section 18 the statements that the Exchange may temporarily deactivate OPP from time to time on an intraday basis at its discretion if it determines that volatility warrants deactivation, and that members will be notified of intraday OPP deactivation due to volatility and any subsequent intraday reactivation by the Exchange through the issuance of system status messages. The Exchange currently lacks the technology to implement intraday OPP deactivation and is deleting the language which suggests that it has such capability.
2. Statutory Basis
The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general to protect investors and the public interest, by amending and correcting the rule text to that it accurately reflects the functioning of the trading system. The amendments concerning the Reference BBO and the elimination of references to intraday deactivation of the OPP are both intended to improve the accuracy of the rule. The Exchange believes that the amendments should promote just and equitable principles of trade as well as protect investors and the public interest by making clear how OPP determinations are actually made on the Exchange and by eliminating the potential for confusion inherent in the statement that the Exchange may temporarily deactivate OPP on an intraday basis when in fact it lacks the technical capacity to do so. Calculating OPP on the basis of the better of the NBBO or the internal market BBO rather than solely on the basis of the NBBO protects investors and the public interest by extending the benefits of OPP to orders received in instances where the internal market BBO is better than the NBBO.
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, as the amendments to Chapter VI, Section 18 will apply uniformly to all market participants availing themselves of the OPP feature. Nor will the proposal impose a burden on competition among the options exchanges, because of the vigorous competition for order flow among the options exchanges. To the extent that market participants disagree with the particular approach taken by the Exchange herein, market participants can easily and readily direct order flow to competing venues.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization’s Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others
The Exchange neither solicited nor received written comments on the proposed rule change.


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