Regulatory Newsletters

Description Additional Resources

The NASDAQ OMX REGWATCH newsletter is designed to give our members a brief snapshot of what has been happening in the world of Market Structure and Regulation, including any recent key filings, news summaries, upcoming dates and links to initiatives to help you stay on top of this ever-changing global environment. We hope you find it helpful and always appreciate any feedback.

Current Regulatory Initiatives

NASDAQ OMX is always committed to working with regulators, exchanges and market participants to ensure trading is transparent and fair. To keep you informed of the ever-changing regulatory landscape of U.S. trading, refer to the information below regarding current regulatory initiatives.

Tick Size Pilot Program
Description Additional Resources

On June 24, 2014 the SEC issued an order directing that the national securities exchanges and FINRA (collectively, “SROs”) to act jointly to develop and file an NMS plan with the SEC to implement a pilot program to study the impact of wider quoting and trading increments on trading of certain small capitalization stocks. On August 26, 2014 the SEC released the proposed plan submitted by the SROs, which proposes a pilot program that includes stocks with a market capitalization of $5 billion or less, an average daily trading volume of one million shares or fewer, and a closing share price of at least $2 per share. The pilot program will consist of one control group and three test groups with 400 securities in each test group selected by stratified sampling. One such test group is subject to a “trade-at” requirement, which prevents price matching by a trading center that is not displaying the best bid or offer. Once published in the Federal Register, the plan will be open for public comment for 21 days.

FINRA Rule 4552-ATS Trading Information
Description Additional Resources

Effective May 12, 2014, FINRA Rule 4552 requires each member that operates an ATS and has filed a Form ATS with the SEC to report to FINRA, within seven business days after the end of each week, the aggregate weekly trading information for each NMS stock and OTC equity security executed within each such ATS during the previous week. Trading information includes the number of shares of each NMS stock or OTC equity security executed within an ATS and the number of trades in a security executed within an ATS.

Rule 15c3-5 – Market Access Rule
Description Additional Resources

On November 3, 2010, the SEC adopted Rule 15c3-5, "Risk Management Controls for Brokers or Dealers with Market Access" ("Market Access Rule" or "Rule"). The Market Access Rule requires broker-dealers to establish, document and maintain a system of risk management controls and supervisory procedures that are reasonably designed to systematically limit the financial exposure of the broker-dealer that could arise as a result of market access and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements that are applicable in connection with market access. The Rule became effective on July 14, 2011, subject to certain extensions of the effective date that were approved by the Commission. The full rule became effective on November 30, 2011.

In accordance with SEC Rule 15c3-5, NASDAQ Execution Services, the routing broker-dealer facility of NASDAQ, BX and PSX began applying credit limits to all routable orders on November 30, 2011. Each NASDAQ, BX or PSX MPID has been assigned a base credit limit. Credit Limits are applied based on historical activity and may be modified from time to time if such modifications are deemed appropriate by NASDAQ Execution Services. As routable orders are entered, the amount of available credit decreases; as orders are cancelled, the amount of available credit for incoming orders increases. Should a credit limit be breached, new orders will be rejected. NASDAQ Execution Services may modify credit limits after consultation with the participant.

Limit Up-Limit Down Proposal
Description Additional Resources

On April 5, 2011, national securities exchanges and FINRA filed a proposal to establish a new "limit up-limit down" mechanism to address extraordinary market volatility in U.S. equity markets. Under the proposal, the mechanism would prevent trades in listed equity securities from occurring outside of a specified price band, which would be set at a percentage level above and below the average price of the security over the immediately preceding five-minute period. To accommodate more fundamental price moves, there would be a five-minute trading pause - similar to the pause triggered by the current circuit breakers - if trading is unable to occur within the price band for more than 15 seconds. The Limit Up-Limit Down plan is designed to replace the existing single stock circuit breakers in phases.

On July 18, 2013, the SEC approved Amendment #4 to the Plan to divide the implementation of Phase 2 into two stages. In the first stage of Phase 2, all Tier 2 NMS stocks were implemented beginning the week of August 5th, 2013 and ended the week of September 3rd, 2013. Starting on August 5th, 2013, the LULD bands begin at 9:30 a.m. E.T. and end at 3:45 p.m. ET each trading day, or fifteen minutes before the close in the case of an early scheduled close. The amended band times will apply to all the Tier 1 symbols and the Tier 2 symbols. In December, the NMS Plan Participants filed Amendment #6 that is immediately effective to include the last 15 minutes of regular trading starting February 24, 2014. Therefore, starting Monday, February 24th 2014, the LULD bands will begin at 9:30 a.m. E.T. and end at 4:00 p.m. ET each trading day. The addition of the last 15 minutes of trading will apply to all NMS Stocks.

Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee on Emerging Regulatory Issues
Description Additional Resources

On February 18, 2011, the Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee on Emerging Regulatory Issues released a summary report titled "Recommendations Regarding Regulatory Responses to the Market Events of May 6, 2010."

Amendments to Reg SHO
Description Additional Resources

The SEC adopted amendments to Regulation SHO with a compliance date of February 28, 2011. Among the rule changes, the SEC introduced Rule 201 (the alternative uptick rule), a short sale-related circuit breaker that, when triggered, imposes a restriction on prices at which securities may be sold short. Specifically, when a security has triggered a circuit breaker by experiencing a price decline of at least 10% from the prior day’s closing price, short sales in that security for the remainder of the trading day and the following day are only permitted if the price of the security is above the current national best bid. The SEC also issued guidance for broker-dealers wishing to mark certain qualifying orders "short exempt."

Consolidated Audit Trail
Description Additional Resources

On July 11, 2012, the SEC voted to require that national securities exchanges and FINRA to establish a market-wide consolidated audit trail. The new rule requires the exchanges and FINRA to jointly submit a comprehensive plan detailing how they would develop, implement and maintain a consolidated audit trail that must collect and accurately identify every order, cancellation, modification and trade execution for all exchange-listed equities and equity options across all U.S. markets.

The Rule became effective on August 1, 2012 after it was published in the Federal Register. In March 2013 the SEC granted the SROs a temporary exemption from the deadline for filing the NMS Plan contained in Rule 613(a)(1) until December 6, 2013. On December 6th, 2013, the SEC agreed to extend the date by which the SROs must submit their NMS Plan for the CAT until September 30, 2014. The NMS Plan was submitted by the new deadline and if the Commission approves, the SROs will be required to report the required data to the central repository within one year of the effective date, and members of the SROs will be required to report within two years. Certain small broker-dealers will have up to three years to report the data.

Large Trader Reporting System
Description Additional Resources

On April 14, 2010, the SEC proposed new Rule 13h-1 and a corresponding Form 13H to establish a new large trader reporting system. The system would require large traders to self-identify and file reports with the SEC. Additionally, the rule places recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring responsibilities on broker-dealers with respect to large traders maintaining accounts with them.

On July, 27th, 2011, the SEC approved the Large Trader Reporting filing with a rule effective date of October 3, 2011 and an initial compliance date for the requirement on larger traders to identify to the SEC as December 1, 2011. On April 23, 2012, the SEC issued an order temporarily exempting broker-dealers from recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring requirements that was scheduled to go into effect on April 30, 2012. The order also granted permanent exemption from the definition from the term "transaction" for certain capital market transactions.

For broker-dealers that are (1) large traders or (2) have large trader customers that are either broker-dealers or that trade through a "sponsored access" arrangement must be in compliance by November 30, 2012. For all other registered broker-dealers the compliance date was recently granted an extension from May 1, 2013 until November 1, 2013. The order provides a temporary exemption for the Phase Two broker-dealer’s recordkeeping, reporting, and monitoring requirements of Rule 13h-1.

Market Maker Obligations
Description Additional Resources

NASDAQ OMX modified its rules surrounding "stub" quotes within The NASDAQ Stock Market's Market-Maker program. For each NMS security in which a NASDAQ member is registered as market maker, the member is required to maintain a continuous two-sided trading interest during regular market hours at prices within certain parameters expressed as a percentage reference from the National Best Bid or Offer (NBBO) as applicable (the "Designated Percentage").

On August 2, 2012, the SEC approved for use a new order type called the Market Maker Peg Order (MMPO). MPPO is designed to assist Market Makers meet their quoting obligations under Rule 4613(a). This order type will replace the AQR Tool by providing similar functionality while also meeting Reg SHO and MAR obligations. The MMPO went into effect for use October 9, 2012. AQR will be phased out by the end of 2012.

On June 14, 2012, NASDAQ OMX filed a proposed rule change to adopt a new Market Maker Peg Order that is designed to provide similar functionality available via the AQR tool. However, the new Marker Maker Peg Order is designed to also assist market makers in meeting obligations under the Market Access Rule and Reg SHO.

Clearly Erroneous Process Improvements
Description Additional Resources

In conjunction with the SEC and other US equity exchanges, NASDAQ OMX has filed with the SEC new rules intended to improve the transparency of the Clearly Erroneous process following larger market-wide events and trading pauses. The current trade break thresholds will remain the same for single stock issues when there are fewer than 20 erroneous filings under review, except in the event of a trading pause.

In February 2013, the SEC approved the extension of the Clearly Erroneous Pilot Program until September 30, 2013 and to adopt a new paragraph in connection with operation of this rule along with Limit Up-Limit Down Plan.

Equity Market Structure Concept Release Comment Letter
Description Additional Resources

After collecting valuable insight and feedback from buy-side and sell-side firms, NASDAQ OMX submitted a comment letter to the SEC regarding the U.S. Equity Market Structure Concept Release.

Market-Wide Circuit Breakers
Description Additional Resources

On May 31, 2012, the SEC approved, on a pilot basis, the national securities exchanges' and FINRA's proposal to revise the market-wide circuit breakers. Changes to the market-wide circuit breakers were implemented on April 8th, 2013, resulting in a reduction in the market decline percentages, a shortened duration of the halts and a replacement of the DJIA with the broader S&P 500 Index as the pricing reference to measure the market declines. In summary, the proposal revised the market-wide circuit breakers by:

  • Using the broader S&P 500 Index as the pricing reference to measure the market decline, rather than the DJIA.
  • Recalculating the trigger thresholds daily rather than quarterly.
  • Reducing the market decline percentage thresholds necessary to trigger a circuit from 10, 20, and 30 percent to 7, 13, and 20 percent from the previous day's closing price.
  • Shortening the duration of the resulting trading halts that do not close the market for the day from 30, 60, or 120 minutes to 15 minutes.
  • Simplifying the structure from six to two relevant trigger time periods - those before 3:25 p.m. and those at or after 3:25 p.m.

On April 3, 2014, the SEC approved an amendment to the NMS Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility that extended the end of the market-wide circuit breaker pilot period from April 8, 2014 to February 20, 2015.

Regulation SCI
Description Additional Resources

On March 8, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") proposed Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity (“Regulation SCI”) and amendments to Regulation ATS under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

As proposed, Regulation SCI would require “SCI entities” (e.g., certain self-regulatory organizations, alternative trading systems, plan processors and exempt clearing agencies) to comply with capacity, integrity, security and testing requirements with respect to their automated systems that support their regulated activities.

According to the SEC, Regulation SCI and the related amendments are needed to formalize current SEC inspection programs (e.g., ARP) and standardize industry efforts in this area. Regulation SCI will also address the increased use of technology in securities trading and routing and the resulting complexities in the markets, and help prevent systems related issues that can harm the fair and orderly operation of the markets.

The SEC is considering public comments on Regulation SCI and has not yet voted on the finalization of the rule proposal.


Any questions relating to the contents of this page or other market structure initiatives please contact Christopher Radtke at +1 212 231 5333 or contact Transaction Services U.S. Market Sales at +1 800 846 0477.