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5270. Front Running of Block Transactions

(a) No member or person associated with a member shall cause to be executed an order to buy or sell a security or a related financial instrument when such member or person associated with a member causing such order to be executed has material, non-public market information concerning an imminent block transaction in that security, a related financial instrument or a security underlying the related financial instrument prior to the time information concerning the block transaction has been made publicly available or has otherwise become stale or obsolete.
(b) This Rule applies to orders caused to be executed for any account in which such member or person associated with the member has an interest, any account with respect to which such member or person associated with a member exercises investment discretion, or for accounts of customers or affiliates of the member when the customer or affiliate has been provided such material, non-public market information by the member or any person associated with the member.
(c) For purposes of this Rule, the term "related financial instrument" shall mean any option, derivative, security-based swap, or other financial instrument overlying a security, the value of which is materially related to, or otherwise acts as a substitute for, such security, as well as any contract that is the functional economic equivalent of a position in such security.

• • • Supplementary Material: ------------------

.01 Knowledge of Block Transactions. The violative practices in Rule 5270 may include transactions that are executed based upon knowledge of less than all of the terms of the block transaction, so long as there is knowledge that all of the material terms of the transaction have been or will be agreed upon imminently.

.02 Publicly Available Information. Information as to a block transaction shall be considered to be publicly available when it has been disseminated via a last sale reporting system or high speed communications line of one of those systems, a similar system of a national securities exchange under Section 6 of the Exchange Act, an alternative trading system under SEC Regulation ATS, or by a third-party news wire service. The requirement that information concerning the block transaction be made publicly available will not be satisfied until the entire block transaction has been completed and publicly reported.

.03 Examples of Block Transactions. In the context of equity securities, a transaction involving 10,000 shares or more of a security, an underlying security, or a related financial instrument overlying such number of shares, is generally deemed to be a block transaction, although a transaction of fewer than 10,000 shares could be considered a block transaction. A block transaction that has been agreed upon does not lose its identity as such by arranging for partial executions of the full transaction in portions which themselves are not of block size if the execution of the full transaction may have a material impact on the market.

.04 Permitted Transactions.

(a) Rule 5270 does not preclude transactions that the member can demonstrate are unrelated to the material, non-public market information received in connection with the customer order. These types of transactions may include:
(1) transactions where the member has information barriers established to prevent internal disclosure of such information;
(2) transactions in the same security related to a prior customer order in that security;
(3) transactions to correct bona fide errors; or
(4) transactions to offset odd-lot orders.
(b) Rule 5270 does not preclude transactions undertaken for the purpose of fulfilling, or facilitating the execution of, the customer block order. However, when engaging in trading activity that could affect the market for the security that is the subject of the customer block order, the member must minimize any potential disadvantage or harm in the execution of the customer's order, must not place the member's financial interests ahead of those of its customer, and must obtain the customer's consent to such trading activity. A member may obtain its customers' consent through affirmative written consent or through the use of a negative consent letter. The negative consent letter must clearly disclose to the customer the terms and conditions for handling the customer's orders; if the customer does not object, then the member may reasonably conclude that the customer has consented and the member may rely on such letter for all or a portion of the customer's orders. In addition, a member may provide clear and comprehensive oral disclosure to and obtain consent from the customer on an order-by-order basis, provided that the member documents who provided such consent and such consent evidences the customer's understanding of the terms and conditions for handling the customer's order.
(c) The prohibitions in Rule 5270 shall not apply if the member's trading activity is undertaken in compliance with the marketplace rules of a national securities exchange and at least one leg of the trading activity is executed on that exchange.

.05 Front Running of Non-Block Transactions. Although the prohibitions in Rule 5270 are limited to imminent block transactions, the front running of other types of orders that place the financial interests of the member or persons associated with a member ahead of those of its customer or the misuse of knowledge of an imminent customer order may violate other FINRA rules, including Rule 2010 and Rule 5320, or provisions of the federal securities laws.

Amended by SR-FINRA-2012-025 and SR-FINRA-2013-021 eff. Sept. 3, 2013.
Amended by SR-NASD-2002-40 eff. Oct. 15, 2002.
Adopted by SR-NASD-87-45 eff. Dec. 30, 1987.

Selected Notices: 96-66, 12-52.

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