On March 25, 2015, the US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed rule amendments to require brokerdealers trading in off-exchange venues to become members of a national securities association. The amendments would seek to heighten regulatory oversight of active proprietary trading firms. The proposed amendments to Rule 15b9-1 under the Exchange Act of 1934 would narrow the current exemption available to certain broker-dealers from membership of a national securities association if the broker-dealer is a member of a national securities exchange, carries no customer accounts and has annual gross income of no more than $1,000 that is derived from securities transactions effected otherwise than on a national securities exchange of which it is a member. The exemption was originally tailored to exchange specialists and other floor members that might need to utilize limited hedging or other off-exchange activities secondary to their floor-based business. The proposed amendments would also update the exemption that permits off-exchange transactions necessary to comply with the regulatory requirements preventing trade-throughs. The public comment period on the proposed rule amendment will last 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

The proposed rule is available at: http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2015/34-74581.pdf.