Archives: Options

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Trading and Markets granted class no-action relief from securities-exchange and broker-dealer registration requirements for foreign options markets and their members that engage in certain “familiarization activities.”  See LIFFE A&M, SEC No-Action Letter, avail. 7/1/13, http://www.sec.gov/divisions/marketreg/mr-noaction/2013/liffe-am-070113.pdf.

The Staff noted it has granted similar relief on “numerous occasions” to other non-U.S. exchanges.  The position in those letters is well-settled, and itbelieves that extending class relief—rather than continuing to issue individual no-action responses—is appropriate.  Specifically, the Staff would not recommend enforcement action against certain exchanges and affiliated individuals, who do not register as a national securities exchange or as a broker-dealer, if they engage in activities intended to familiarize certain registered broker-dealers and large U.S. financial institutions with certain equity and index options traded.  Granting the relief requested on a class basis, the Staff said the class no-action response differs from past no-action letters in one material respect in that it does not require the preparation and distribution of an options disclosure document providing an overview of the foreign market and products.  However, the class relief will require that the foreign options market maintain, in English, and on its website, at a minimum, current information concerning its trading rules, clearance and settlement procedures, hours of operation, and holidays, and ability to respond to requests.

In short, this relief was expected, and intended to streamline the process.