November 17, 2004
Kathleen H. Moriarty, Esq.
Dear Ms. Moriarty:
In your letter dated November 17, 2004, you request on behalf of World Gold Trust Services, LLC ("Sponsor"), the streetTRACKS Gold Trust® ("Trust"), UBS Securities LLC ("Purchaser") as underwriter of the Underwritten Shares, the New York Stock Exchange, any other national securities exchange or national securities association and certain persons or entities engaging in transactions in Shares, exemptions from, or no-action advice or relief regarding Rule 10a-1 under, Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M under, Section 11(d)(1) of, and Rule 11d1-2 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"). You also request on behalf of State Street Global Markets, LLC, as marketing agent for the Trust ("Marketing Agent"), an exemption from Rule 101 of Regulation M under the Exchange Act.
The Trust was formed under New York law pursuant to a Trust Indenture by and between the Sponsor and The Bank of New York, as trustee of the Trust on November 12, 2004. The Trust is a passive, unmanaged investment vehicle and will have no directors, officers or employees. The function of the Trust is to hold gold in trust for the benefit of holders of Shares issued by the Trust. The Trust's business or activity is limited to (i) issuing Baskets in exchange for the deposit of gold with the Trust and distributing gold from the Trust in connection with the redemption of Baskets, (ii) holding through its Custodian the gold on deposit with the Trust, and (iii) selling the Trust's gold on a periodic and as-needed basis to pay the Trust's ongoing expenses.
This response is attached to the enclosed photocopy of your correspondence. Each defined term in this letter has the same meaning as defined in your letter, unless otherwise noted herein.
Rule 3b-3 under the Exchange Act defines "short sale" and Rule 10a-1 under the Exchange Act governs short sales generally.1 Paragraph (a) of Rule 10a-1 covers transactions in any security registered on a national securities exchange, if trades in such security are reported in the consolidated transaction reporting system, and prohibits short sales with respect to these securities unless such sales occur on a "plus tick," (that is, a price above the price at which the immediately preceding sale was effected), or "zero-plus tick," (that is, at the last sale price if it was higher than the last different price). Rule 10a-1 is designed to prevent the market price of a stock or other "reported security," as defined in Rule 11Aa3-1(a)(4) under the Exchange Act, from being manipulated downward by unrestricted short selling.
On the basis of your representations and the facts presented, in particular the derivative nature of the Shares, it would not appear that trading in the Shares would be susceptible to the practices that Rule 10a-1 is designed to prevent. In particular, the Trust anticipates that the market value of the Shares will rise or fall based on changes in the underlying gold. Moreover, the short sale rule does not apply to analogous derivative products such as index options and index futures contracts. Accordingly, the Commission hereby grants an exemption from Rule 10a-1 to permit sales of Shares without regard to the "tick" requirements of Rule 10a-1.
Rule 101 of Regulation M
Generally, Rule 101 of Regulation M is an anti-manipulation regulation that, subject to certain exemptions, prohibits any "distribution participant" and its "affiliated purchasers" from bidding for, purchasing, or attempting to induce any person to bid for or purchase, any security which is the subject of a distribution until after the applicable restricted period, except as specifically permitted in the Regulation. The provisions of Rule 101 of Regulation M apply to underwriters, prospective underwriters, brokers, dealers, and other persons who have agreed to participate or are participating in a distribution of securities, and affiliated purchasers of such persons.
On the basis of your representations and the facts presented, particularly that the Trust will continuously redeem at net asset value Baskets of Shares and that the secondary market price of Shares should not vary substantially from the value of gold represented by the Shares, the Commission hereby grants an exemption under paragraph (d) of Rule 101 of Regulation M thus permitting persons who may be deemed to be participating in a distribution of Shares to bid for or purchase Shares during their participation in such distribution. The Commission also grants an exemption under paragraph (d) of Rule 101 of Regulation M to permit the Marketing Agent to publish certain market-related information and research on the Trust's website.
Rule 102 of Regulation M
Rule 102 of Regulation M prohibits issuers, selling security holders, or any affiliated purchaser of such person from bidding for, purchasing, or attempting to induce any person to bid for or purchase a covered security during the applicable restricted period in connection with a distribution of securities effected by or on behalf of an issuer or selling security holder. Rule 100 of Regulation M defines "distribution" to mean any offering of securities that is distinguished from ordinary trading transactions by the magnitude of the offering and the presence of special selling efforts and selling methods.
On the basis of your representations and the facts presented, particularly that the Trust will continuously redeem at net asset value Baskets of Shares, the Commission hereby grants an exemption under paragraph (e) of Rule 102 of Regulation M thus permitting the Trust and affiliated purchasers to redeem Shares during the continuous offering of the Shares.
Section 11(d)(1) and Rule 11d1-2
On the basis of your representations and the facts presented, the staff of the Division of Market Regulation ("Staff"), will not recommend enforcement action to the Commission under Section 11(d)(1) of the Exchange Act if broker-dealers (other than the Marketing Agent) that do not create or redeem Shares but engage in both proprietary and customer transactions in Shares exclusively in the secondary market extend or maintain or arrange for the extension or maintenance of credit on Shares in connection with such secondary market transactions. In this regard, we note in particular your representation that, other than the Purchaser with respect to the Underwritten Shares and the Marketing Agent with respect to the Marketing Agent Fees, no broker-dealer or any natural person associated with such broker-dealer, directly or indirectly (including through any affiliate of such broker-dealer), receives from the Trust complex2 any payment, compensation or other economic incentive to promote or sell Shares to persons outside of the Trust complex, other than non-cash compensation permitted under NASD Rule 2830(l)(5)(A), (B), or (C). Consistent with this representation, we note that neither the Underwriting Fee nor the Advisory Fee will be shared, split or otherwise made available in whole or in part by the Purchaser to any other broker-dealer or any natural person associated with such broker-dealer and that the Marketing Agent Fees will not be shared, split or otherwise made available in whole or in part by the Marketing Agent to any other broker-dealer or any natural person associated with such broker-dealer.
In addition, on the basis of your representations and the facts presented, the Staff will not recommend enforcement action to the Commission under Section 11(d)(1) of the Exchange Act if broker-dealers other than the Marketing Agent treat Shares, for the purposes of Rule 11d1-2 under the Exchange Act, as "securities issued by a registered ... open-end investment company as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940" and thereby extend or maintain or arrange for the extension or maintenance of credit on Shares that have been owned by the persons to whom credit is provided for more than 30 days, in reliance on the exemption contained in the rule. We note in this regard your representation that Authorized Participants3 will not extend, maintain, or arrange for the extension or maintenance of credit on Shares other than to the extent such extension, maintenance, or arranging is otherwise permitted under Exchange Act Rule 11d1-1 or, pursuant to the relief granted in this letter, under Rule 11d1-2. In addition, we note your representation that the Purchaser, as an Authorized Participant, will not extend, maintain or arrange for the extension or maintenance of credit on Shares during the distribution period for the Underwritten Shares or for 30 days after the last day that the Advisory Fee is payable to the Purchaser, except as otherwise permitted under Rule 11d1-1, and that thereafter, the Purchaser, as an Authorized Participant, will not extend, maintain, or arrange for the extension or maintenance of credit on Shares other than to the extent permitted under Rule 11d1-1 or, pursuant to the relief granted in this letter, under Rule 11d1-2.
The foregoing exemptions from Rule 10a-1, Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M, and no-action positions taken under Section 11(d)(1) and Rule 11d1-2 are based solely on your representations and the facts presented, and are strictly limited to the application of those rules to transactions involving Shares under the circumstances described above and in your letter. Such transactions should be discontinued, pending presentation of the facts for our consideration, in the event that any material change occurs with respect to any of those facts or representations. Moreover, the foregoing exemptions from Rule 10a-1 and Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M and no-action positions taken under Section 11(d)(1) and Rule 11d1-2 are subject to the condition that such transactions in Shares or any related securities are not made for the purpose of creating actual, or apparent, active trading in or raising or otherwise affecting the price of such securities.
The foregoing exemptions are subject to modification or revocation if at any time the Commission determines that such action is necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Exchange Act. Moreover, the foregoing no-action positions are subject to modification or revocation as necessary or appropriate. In addition, persons relying on these exemptions and no-action positions are directed to the anti-fraud and anti-manipulation provisions of the Exchange Act, particularly Sections 9(a), 10(b), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Responsibility for compliance with these and other provisions of the federal or state securities laws must rest with persons relying on these exemptions and no-action positions. The Staff expresses no view with respect to other questions that the proposed transactions may raise, including, but not limited to, the adequacy of disclosure concerning, and the applicability of other federal or state laws or rules or regulations of any self-regulatory organizations to, the proposed transactions.
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation,
James A. Brigagliano
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