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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Approves National Market System Plan for Selection and Reservation of Securities Symbols


Washington, D.C., Nov. 6, 2008 — The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a plan that establishes a process for reserving, selecting, and allocating securities symbols. The exchanges that list securities and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) must join the plan within 60 days.

"Securities symbols are a key element in the operation of the markets, and the plan approved by the Commission will ensure the fair and orderly dissemination of information in a common format that is clear to investors," said Erik Sirri, Director of the SEC's Division of Trading and Markets.

There is a limited supply of securities symbols — particularly one-, two-, and three-character symbols. As the exchanges expand the number of securities listed and compete for new listings, the supply of available symbols has decreased and the need for a fair and transparent process to reserve and select securities symbols has grown.

The plan approved by the Commission establishes a process for exchanges that list equity securities and for FINRA, which designates symbols for quoting unlisted securities in the over-the-counter market, to reserve symbols. If an issuer transfers its listing to another exchange, the new exchange would automatically have the right to use the symbol. In addition, a centralized symbol database of securities symbols will be maintained by a third-party processor.

The plan approved by the Commission was filed by the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc., National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (n/k/a FINRA), National Stock Exchange, Inc., and Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. The Commission previously solicited comment on this proposed plan, as well as another proposed plan filed by the American Stock Exchange (n/k/a NYSE Alternext US), Boston Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, New York Stock Exchange LLC, and Pacific Exchange (n/k/a NYSE Arca, Inc.). The notices of these proposals can be found at: http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro/nms/2007/34-56037.pdf and http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro/nms/2008/34-57171.pdf.

The full text of the Commission's order will be posted to the SEC Web site as soon as possible.

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Modified: 11/06/2008