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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

March 3, 2005

Mr. Michael Rufino
Vice President, Sales Practice Review Unit
New York Stock Exchange, Inc.
20 Broad Street
New York, NY 10005

Re: Rule 10b-10 / Average Price, Multiple Capacity Confirmations

Dear Mr. Rufino:

In your letter of March 3, 2005, on behalf of the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. ("NYSE"), you request assurance that the staff of the Division of Market Regulation ("Staff") will not recommend enforcement action to the Commission under Rule 10b-10 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") if NYSE members or member organizations effect transactions in NYSE-listed equity securities and give or send a single confirmation that (1) reflects the average price and/or multiple capacities of multiple executions undertaken to fill a single customer order, and (2) provides other information related to such transactions as described more fully below. In considering your request, we have also considered whether any relief extended to NYSE members and member organizations should also be extended to other broker-dealers that effect transactions in reported securities.1

You represent that the requirements of best execution, together with the advent of decimal trading and the May 2000 rescission of NYSE Rule 390 (which generally had prohibited NYSE members and their affiliates from effecting certain transactions in NYSE-listed securities away from the NYSE), raise a strong possibility that a single customer order may be executed at multiple prices, in multiple capacities, and/or on multiple markets. You also note that NYSE member organizations have stated that multiple confirmations may result in higher costs and that some customers could find multiple confirmations confusing.

Based on the facts presented and the representations you have made, the Staff will not recommend enforcement action to the Commission under Exchange Act Rule 10b-10 if, within the circumstances defined below, any broker-dealer gives or sends average price and/or multiple capacity confirmations to confirm single customer orders for reported securities,2 effected in multiple executions, in order to achieve best execution for the customer.

This staff position is limited to those circumstances in which the broker-dealer complies with the following conditions:

  1. The broker-dealer will average the execution prices of each individual execution that filled the market order or crossing limit order and report the average price per share on the confirmation as the unit price, with a notation that the confirmed price is an average price. The confirmation will note that details regarding the actual prices are available to the customer upon request.
  2. The confirmation will identify each of the capacities in which the broker-dealer actually acted in executing the order, e.g., "principal," "agent," "agent and agent for another," "principal and agent," "or "principal, agent, and agent for another," as applicable.3 The confirmation will note that details regarding the capacity (including, when acting as agent for another, the name or names of the person or persons from whom the security was purchased, or to whom it was sold) with regard to each execution are available to the customer upon request.
  3. The commission, markup, markdown, service fee, and any other remuneration to the broker-dealer associated with each individual execution will not be detailed separately, but will be stated in a single amount for the transaction as a whole. The confirmation will note that further details regarding the remuneration are available to the customer upon request.
  4. The confirmation will include all other information required by Rule 10b-10.
  5. Each individual execution will be reported separately under the applicable trade reporting rules.
  6. Each broker-dealer that issues average price and/or multiple capacity confirmations will create and maintain records required under Exchange Act Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4, in a manner that reflects the processing and confirmation of orders as described above and the details of each underlying execution.4

This position concerns enforcement action only and is limited strictly to the facts and conditions set forth above. Any different facts or circumstances may require a different response.

We express no view with respect to other questions the proposed activities of any broker-dealer relying on this relief may raise, including the applicability of any other federal or state laws or the applicability of self-regulatory organization rules concerning customer account statements or confirmations.


Brian A. Bussey
Assistant Chief Counsel


Incoming Letter:

The Incoming Letter is in Acrobat form.


Modified: 03/07/2005