2020-14867. Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change To Add Consolidated Audit Trail Rules to the List of Minor Rule Violations  

  • Start Preamble Start Printed Page 41638 July 6, 2020.

    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 30, 2020, BOX Exchange LLC (the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons and approving the proposal on an accelerated basis.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to add its CAT Compliance Rules to the list of minor rule violations in Rule 12140 (Imposition of Fines for Minor Rule Violations). The text of the proposed rule change is available from the principal office of the Exchange, at the Commission's Public Reference Room and also on the Exchange's internet website at http://boxoptions.com.

    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 self-regulatory organization 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.

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

    1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to add the Exchange's CAT Compliance Rules to the list of minor rule violations in Rule 12140 (Imposition of Fines for Minor Rule Violations). This proposal is based upon the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filing to amend FINRA Rule 9217 in order to add FINRA's corresponding CAT Compliance Rules to FINRA's list of rules that are eligible for minor rule violation plan treatment.[3] This proposal is also based upon the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (“NYSE”) filing to amend NYSE Rule 9217 in order to add NYSE's corresponding CAT Compliance Rules to NYSE's list of rules that are eligible for minor rule violation plan treatment.[4]

    Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange recently adopted the CAT Compliance Rules in the Rule 16000 Series in order to implement the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail (the “CAT NMS Plan” or “Plan”).[5] The CAT NMS Plan was filed by the Plan Participants to comply with Rule 613 of Regulation NMS under the Exchange Act,[6] and each Plan Participant accordingly has adopted the same compliance rules in the Exchange's Rule 16000 Series. The common compliance rules adopted by each Plan Participant are designed to require industry members to comply with the provisions of the CAT NMS Plan, which broadly calls for industry members to record and report timely and accurately customer, order, and trade information relating to activity in NMS Securities and OTC Equity Securities.

    Rule 12140 sets forth the list of rules under which an Options Participant, or person associated with or employed by an Options Participant may be subject to a fine. Rule 12140 permits the Exchange to impose a fine of up to $5,000 on any Options Participant, or person associated with or employed by an Options Participant for a minor violation of an eligible rule. The Exchange proposes to amend Rule 12140 to add the CAT Compliance Rules under Rule Series 16000 to the list of rules eligible for disposition pursuant to a minor fine under Rule 12140.[7]

    The Exchange is coordinating with FINRA and other Plan Participants to promote harmonized and consistent enforcement of all the Plan Participants' CAT Compliance Rules. The Commission recently approved a Rule 17d-2 Plan under which the regulation of CAT Compliance Rules will be allocated among Plan Participants to reduce regulatory duplication for industry members that are members of more than one Participant (“common members”).[8] Under the Rule 17d-2 Plan, the regulation of CAT Compliance Rules with respect to common members that are members of FINRA is allocated to FINRA. Similarly, under the Rule 17d-2 Plan, responsibility for common members of multiple other Plan Participants and not a member of FINRA will be allocated among those other Plan Participants, including to the Exchange. For those non-common members who are allocated to the Exchange pursuant to the Rule 17d-2 Plan, the Exchange and FINRA entered into a Regulatory Services Agreement (“RSA”) pursuant to which FINRA will conduct surveillance, investigation, examination, and enforcement activity in connection with the CAT Compliance Rules on the Exchange's behalf. We expect that the other exchanges would be entering into a similar RSA.

    In order to achieve consistency with FINRA and the other Plan Participants, the Exchange proposes to adopt fines up to $2,500 in connection with minor rule fines for violations of the CAT Compliance Rules under Rule Series 16000 under Rule 12140 and the Exchange's MRVP.

    FINRA, in connection with its proposed amendment to FINRA Rule 9217 to make FINRA's CAT Compliance Rules MRVP eligible, has represented Start Printed Page 41639that it will apply the minor fines for CAT Compliance Rules in the same manner that FINRA has for its similar existing audit trail-related rules.[9] Accordingly, in order to promote regulatory consistency, the Exchange plans to do the same. Specifically, application of a minor rule fine with respect to CAT Compliance Rules will be guided by the same factors that FINRA referenced in its filing. However, more formal disciplinary proceedings may be warranted instead of minor rule dispositions in certain circumstances such as where violations prevent regulatory users of the CAT from performing their regulatory functions. Where minor rule dispositions are appropriate, the following factors help guide the determination of fine amounts:

    • Total number of reports that are not submitted or submitted late;
    • The timeframe over which the violations occur;
    • Whether violations are batched;
    • Whether the violations are the result of the actions of one individual or the result of faulty systems or procedures;
    • Whether the firm has taken remedial measures to correct the violations;
    • Prior minor rule violations within the past 24 months;
    • Collateral effects that the failure has on customers; and
    • Collateral effects that the failure has on the Exchange's ability to perform its regulatory function.[10]

    Upon effectiveness of this rule change, the Exchange will publish a regulatory circular notifying its Options Participant organizations of the rule change and the specific factors that will be considered in connection with assessing minor rule fines described above.

    For the foregoing reasons, the Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will result in a coordinated, harmonized approach to CAT compliance rule enforcement across Plan Participants that will be consistent with the approach FINRA has taken with the CAT rules.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [11] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [12] in particular, because it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, 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.

    Minor rule fines provide a meaningful sanction for minor or technical violations of rules when the conduct at issue does not warrant stronger, immediately reportable disciplinary sanctions. The inclusion of a rule in the Exchange's MRVP does not minimize the importance of compliance with the rule, nor does it preclude the Exchange from choosing to pursue violations of eligible rules through a Letter of Consent if the nature of the violations or prior disciplinary history warrants more significant sanctions. Rather, the Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will strengthen the Exchange's ability to carry out its oversight and enforcement responsibilities in cases where full disciplinary proceedings are unwarranted in view of the minor nature of the particular violation. Rather, the option to impose a minor rule sanction gives the Exchange additional flexibility to administer its enforcement program in the most effective and efficient manner while still fully meeting the Exchange's remedial objectives in addressing violative conduct. Specifically, the proposed rule change is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices because it will provide the Exchange the ability to issue a minor rule fine for violations of the CAT Compliance Rules under Rule Series 16000 where a more formal disciplinary action may not be warranted or appropriate consistent with the approach of other Plan Participants for the same conduct.

    In connection with the fine level specified in the proposed rule change, adding language that minor rule fines for violations of the CAT Compliance Rules under Rule Series 16000 shall not exceed $2,500 would further the goal of transparency and add clarity to the Exchange's rules. Adopting the same cap as FINRA for minor rule fines in connection with the CAT Compliance Rules would also promote regulatory consistency across self-regulatory organizations.

    The Exchange further believes that the proposed amendments to Rule 12140 are consistent with Section 6(b)(6) of the Act,[13] which provides that members and persons associated with members shall be appropriately disciplined for violation of the provisions of the rules of the exchange, by expulsion, suspension, limitation of activities, functions, and operations, fine, censure, being suspended or barred from being associated with a member, or any other fitting sanction. As noted, the proposed rule change would provide the Exchange ability to sanction minor or technical violations of Rule Series 16000 pursuant to the Exchange's rules.

    Finally, because existing BOX Rule 12140 provides procedural rights to a person fined under the Exchange's MRVP to contest the fine and permits a hearing on the matter, the Exchange believes that the proposal is consistent with Sections 6(b)(7) and 6(d)(1) of the Act,[14] by providing a fair procedure for the disciplining of Participants and persons associated with Participants.

    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 that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The proposed rule change is not intended to address competitive issues but rather is concerned solely with making the CAT Compliance Rules under Rule Series 16000 eligible for a minor rule fine disposition, thereby strengthening the Exchange's ability to carry out its oversight and enforcement functions and deter potential violative conduct. As such, 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.

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

    The Exchange has neither solicited nor received comments on the proposed rule change.

    III. 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:Start Printed Page 41640

    Electronic Comments

    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-BOX-2020-26. 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-BOX-2020-26 and should be submitted on or before July 31, 2020.

    IV. Commission's Findings and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change

    The Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.[15] In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[16] which requires that the rules of an exchange be designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments and to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. The Commission also believes that the proposal is consistent with Sections 6(b)(1) and 6(b)(6) of the Act [17] which require that the rules of an exchange enforce compliance with, and provide appropriate discipline for, violations of Commission and Exchange rules. Finally, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with the public interest, the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act, as required by Rule 19d-1(c)(2) under the Act,[18] which governs minor rule violation plans.

    As stated above, the Exchange proposes to add the CAT Compliance Rules to the list of minor rule violations in Rule 12140 to be consistent with the approach FINRA has taken for minor violations of its corresponding CAT Compliance Rules.[19] The Commission has already approved FINRA's treatment of CAT Compliance Rules violations when it approved the addition of CAT Compliance Rules to FINRA's MRVP.[20] As noted in that order, and similarly herein, the Commission believes that Exchange's treatment of CAT Compliance Rules violations as part of its MRVP provides a reasonable means of addressing violations that do not rise to the level of requiring formal disciplinary proceedings, while providing greater flexibility in handling certain violations. However, the Commission expects that, as with FINRA, the Exchange will continue to conduct surveillance with due diligence and make determinations based on its findings, on a case-by-case basis, regarding whether a sanction under the rule is appropriate, or whether a violation requires formal disciplinary action. Accordingly, the Commission believes the proposal raises no novel or significant issues.

    For the same reasons discussed above, the Commission finds good cause, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[21] for approving the proposed rule change prior to the thirtieth day after the date of publication of the notice of the filing thereof in the Federal Register. The proposal merely adds the CAT Compliance Rules to the Exchange's MRVP and harmonizes its application with FINRA's application of CAT Compliance Rules under its own MRVP. Accordingly, the Commission believes that a full notice-and-comment period is not necessary before approving the proposal.

    V. Conclusion

    It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act [22] and Rule 19d-1(c)(2) thereunder,[23] that the proposed rule change (SR-BOX-2020-26) be, and hereby is, approved on an accelerated basis.

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    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[24]

    J. Matthew DeLesDernier,

    Assistant Secretary.

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    Footnotes

    3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 88870 (May 14, 2020), 85 FR 30768 (May 20, 2020) (SR-FINRA-2020-013).

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    4.  See SR-NYSE-2020-51.

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    5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 34-80256 (March 15, 2017), 82 FR 14526 (March 21, 2017) (SR-BOX-2017-07).

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    7.  FINRA's maximum fine for minor rule violations under FINRA Rule 9216(b) is $2,500. The Exchange believes it is appropriate to have an identical maximum fine amount for eligible violations of the Rule 16000 Series to achieve harmony with FINRA and also to amend its minor rule violation plan (“MRVP”) to include such fines. Like FINRA, the Exchange would be able to pursue a fine greater than $2,500 for violations of the Rule 16000 Series in a regular disciplinary proceeding or Letter of Consent under the Rule 12000 Series as appropriate. Any fine imposed in excess of $2,500 or not otherwise covered by Rule 19d-1(c)(2) of the Act would be subject to prompt notice to the Commission pursuant to Rule 19d-1 under the Act. As noted below, in assessing the appropriateness of a minor rule fine with respect to CAT Compliance Rules, the Exchange will be guided by the same factors that FINRA utilizes. See text accompanying notes 9-10, infra.

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    8.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 88366 (March 12, 2020), 85 FR 15238 (March 17, 2020) (File No. 4-618).

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    9.  See SR-FINRA-2020-013; see also FINRA Notice to Members 04-19 (March 2004) (providing specific factors used to inform dispositions for violations of OATS reporting rules).

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    10.  See id.

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    14.  15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(7) and (d)(1).

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    15.  In approving this proposed rule change, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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    17.  15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(1) and 78f(b)(6).

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    19.  As discussed above, the Exchange has entered into a Rule 17d-2 Plan and an RSA with FINRA with respect to the CAT Compliance Rules. The Commission notes that, unless relieved by the Commission of its responsibility, as may be the case under the Rule 17d-2 Plan, the Exchange continues to bear the responsibility for self-regulatory conduct and liability for self-regulatory failures, not the self-regulatory organization retained to perform regulatory functions on the Exchange's behalf pursuant to an RSA. See Securities Exchange Release No. 61419 (January 26, 2010), 75 FR 5157 (February 1, 2010) (SR-BATS-2009-031), note 93 and accompanying text.

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    20.  See supra note 3.

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    [FR Doc. 2020-14867 Filed 7-9-20; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 8011-01-P

Document Information

Published:
07/10/2020
Department:
Securities and Exchange Commission
EntryType:
Notice
Document Number:
2020-14867
Pages:
41638-41640 (3 pages)
Docket Numbers:
Release No. 34-89233, File No. SR-BOX-2020-26
SectionNoes:
PDF File:
2020-14867.pdf