Securities Law & Instruments


Headnote

Application to the Commission pursuant to section 38 of the Commodity Futures Act (Ontario) (CFA) for a ruling that the Applicant be exempted from the dealer registration requirement in paragraph 22(1)(a) and the prohibition against trading on non-recognized exchanges in section 33 of the CFA. As an introducing broker, the Applicant will offer the ability to trade in commodity futures contracts and commodity futures options that trade on exchanges located outside Canada and cleared through clearing corporations located outside of Canada to certain of its clients in Ontario who meet the definition of "permitted client" in National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations.

Application to the Director for an exemption, pursuant to section 6.1 of OSC Rule 91-502 Trades in Recognized Options (Rule 91-502), exempting the Applicant and its Representatives from the proficiency requirements in section 3.1 of Rule 91-502 for trades in commodity futures options on exchanges located outside Canada.

Applicable Legislative Provisions

Statutes Cited

Commodity Futures Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.20, as am., ss. 22, 33 and 38.

Rule Cited

Ontario Securities Commission Rule 91-502 Trades in Recognized Options , ss. 3.1, 6.1.

Instrument Cited

National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations, s. 8.18.

February 24, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF THE COMMODITY FUTURES ACT, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.20, AS AMENDED (the CFA) AND IN THE MATTER OF THE SECURITIES ACT, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, AS AMENDED (the OSA) AND IN THE MATTER OF ONTARIO SECURITIES COMMISSION RULE 91-502 TRADES IN RECOGNIZED OPTIONS (Rule 91-502) AND IN THE MATTER OF PRISM FINANCIAL PRODUCTS LLC

RULING & EXEMPTION (Section 38 of the CFA and Section 6.1 of Rule 91-502)

UPON the application (the Application) of Prism Financial Products LLC (the Applicant) to the Ontario Securities Commission (the Commission) for:

(a) a ruling of the Commission, pursuant to section 38 of the CFA, that the Applicant is not subject to the dealer registration requirement in the CFA (as defined below) or the trading restrictions in the CFA (as defined below) in connection with trades (Futures Trades) in Exchange-Traded Futures (as defined below) on exchanges located outside Canada (Non-Canadian Exchanges) where the Applicant is acting as agent in such trades to, from or on behalf of Permitted Clients (as defined below);

(b) a ruling of the Commission, pursuant to section 38 of the CFA, that a Permitted Client is not subject to the dealer registration requirement in the CFA or the trading restrictions in the CFA in connection with Futures Trades on Non-Canadian Exchanges, where the Applicant acts in respect of the Futures Trades on behalf of the Permitted Client pursuant to the above ruling; and

(c) a decision of the Director, pursuant to section 6.1 of Rule 91-502, exempting the Applicant's salespersons, directors, officers and employees (the Representatives) from section 3.1 of Rule 91-502 in connection with Futures Trades.

AND WHEREAS for the purposes of this ruling and exemption (collectively, the Decision):

(a) the following terms shall have the following meanings

"Associated Person" means an individual who solicits orders, customers or customer funds (or who supervises persons so engaged) and is required to be registered under the rules of the NFA;

"CFTC" means the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission;

"dealer registration requirement in the CFA" means the provisions of section 22 of the CFA that prohibit a person or company from trading in Exchange-Traded Futures unless the person or company satisfies the applicable provisions of section 22 of the CFA;

"ECP" means eligible contract participant as that term is defined in the United States Commodity Exchange Act;

"Exchange-Traded Futures" means a commodity futures contract or a commodity futures option that trades on one or more organized exchanges located outside of Canada and is cleared through one or more clearing corporations located outside of Canada;

"FINRA" means the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in the U.S.;

"NI 31-103" means National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations;

"NFA" means the National Futures Association in the U.S.;

"Permitted Client" means a client in Ontario that is a "permitted client" as that term is defined in section 1.1 of NI 31-103;

"SEC" means the United States Securities and Exchange Commission; and

"specified affiliate" has the meaning ascribed to that term in Form 33-109F6 to National Instrument 33-109 Registration Information;

"trading restrictions in the CFA" means the provisions of section 33 of the CFA that prohibit a person or company from trading in Exchange-Traded Futures unless the person or company satisfies the applicable provisions of section 33 of the CFA;

"U.S." means the United States of America; and

(b) terms used in this Decision that are defined in the OSA, and not otherwise defined in this Decision or in the CFA, shall have the same meaning as in the OSA, unless the context otherwise requires.

AND UPON considering the Application and the recommendation of staff of the Commission;

AND UPON the Applicant having represented to the Commission and the Director as follows:

1. The Applicant is a limited liability company formed under the laws of the State of Delaware in the U.S. Its main office is located at 650 Fifth Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10019, U.S.

2. Both the Applicant and its affiliate Prism Financial Products LLP are owned by PrismFP Partners LLP, a U.K. limited liability partnership, and by Tazza Holdings Limited, a Maltese based limited liability holding company established for the purpose of investing in both entities. Tazza Holdings Limited holds its interest in the Applicant through its wholly-owned subsidiary Tazza USA Inc.

3. The principal business of the Applicant is providing introducing services relating to Exchange-Traded Futures on non-Canadian Exchanges for ECPs.

4. In order to provide these services, the Applicant is a member of and is regulated by the NFA (NFA ID: 0496102) and is registered as an "introducing broker" with the CFTC. The Applicant is not registered with the SEC, is not a member of FINRA and does not carry on a securities business in the U.S. The Applicant is not a member of any exchanges.

5. Pursuant to its registrations and memberships, the Applicant is authorised to act as an introducing broker in the U.S. Rules of the CFTC and NFA require the Applicant to maintain adequate capital levels, make and keep specified types of records relating to customer accounts and transactions, and comply with other forms of customer protection rules, including rules respecting: know-your-customer obligations, client identification, suitability and account-opening requirements, anti-money laundering checks, dealing and handling customer order obligations including managing conflicts of interests and best execution rules. These rules require the Applicant to treat Permitted Clients consistently with the Applicant's U.S. customers with respect to transactions made on exchanges in the U.S. In respect of Exchange-Traded Futures the Applicant does not provide execution or clearing services and is not authorised to receive or hold client money in any jurisdiction.

6. The Applicant proposes to offer certain of its Permitted Clients in Ontario the ability to trade in Exchange-Traded Futures through the Applicant, in its role as introducing broker.

7. The Applicant is not registered in any capacity and does not rely on any exemptions from registration under the CFA or the OSA.

8. The Applicant is (a) not in default of securities legislation in any jurisdiction of Canada or under the CFA, and (b) in compliance in all material respects with U.S. securities and commodity futures laws.

9. The Applicant will not maintain an office, sales force or physical place of business in Ontario.

10. The Applicant will solicit Futures Trades in Ontario only from persons who qualify as Permitted Clients.

11. Permitted Clients of the Applicant will only be offered the ability to effect Futures Trades on Non-Canadian Exchanges.

12. The Applicant will introduce Futures Trades on behalf of Permitted Clients in Ontario in the same manner that it introduces trades on behalf of its U.S. clients, all of which are ECPs. The Applicant will follow the same know-your-customer, suitability, and order handling procedures that it follows in respect of its U.S. clients. Permitted Clients will be afforded the benefits of compliance by the Applicant with the statutory and other requirements of the regulators and self-regulatory organizations located in the U.S. Permitted Clients in Ontario will have the same contractual rights against the Applicant as U.S. clients of the Applicant.

13. The Exchange-Traded Futures to be traded by Permitted Clients will include, but will not be limited to, Exchange-Traded Futures for equity indices, interest rates, FX, energy and other commodity products.

14. Permitted Clients of the Applicant will be able to execute Exchange-Traded Futures orders by contacting the Applicant's client order handling desk, where orders will be transmitted to an executing broker for execution. Permitted Clients may also be able to self-execute Exchange-Traded Futures orders electronically via an independent service vendor and/or other electronic trading routing.

15. The Applicant will arrange to have a Permitted Client's order executed on the relevant Non-Canadian Exchange by an executing broker registered as a futures commission merchant in accordance with the rules and customary practices of the exchange. The Permitted Client will be a client of both the Applicant and the executing broker. The Applicant will remain responsible for all executions when the Applicant is listed as the executing broker in the relevant give-up agreement; when the Applicant is listed as the introducing broker in the relevant give-up agreement, the executing broker will be responsible for the execution to the client. There will thus always be a registered regulated party who is responsible to the client.

16. The Applicant will perform introducing (as introducing broker) functions for Futures Trades. The executing broker will act to "give-up" the transacted trades to the Permitted Client's clearing broker.

17. The clearing brokers and executing broker will also be required to comply with the rules of the exchanges of which each is a member and any relevant regulatory requirements, including requirements under the CFA, as applicable. The Permitted Client, the executing broker and the Permitted Client's clearing broker will represent to the Applicant, in an industry standard give-up agreement, that each will perform its obligations in accordance with applicable laws, governmental, regulatory, self-regulatory, exchange and clearing house rules and the customs and usages of the exchange or clearing house on which the relevant Permitted Client's Exchange-Traded Futures order will be executed and cleared. The Applicant will not enter into a give-up agreement with any executing broker registered as a futures commission merchant or clearing broker unless such firm is registered with the applicable regulatory bodies in the jurisdiction in which it executes Futures Trades. The Applicant will not enter into a give-up agreement with any clearing broker located in the U.S. unless such clearing broker is registered with the CFTC and/or the SEC, as applicable.

18. As is customary for all Futures Trades, a clearing corporation appointed by the exchange or clearing division of the exchange is substituted as a universal counterparty on all trades in Exchange-Traded Futures and Permitted Client orders that are submitted to the exchange in the name of the recognized exchange member and clearing broker. The Permitted Client of the Applicant is responsible to its clearing broker for payment of daily mark-to-market variation margin and/or proper margin to carry open positions and the Permitted Client's clearing broker is in turn responsible to the clearing corporation/division for payment.

19. Permitted Clients will pay commissions for trades introduced by the Applicant. The Applicant will pay commissions to the executing broker and the clearing broker.

20. The trading restrictions in the CFA apply unless, among other things, an Exchange-Traded Future is traded on a recognized or registered commodity futures exchange and the form of the contract is approved by the Director. To date, no Non-Canadian Exchanges have been recognized or registered under the CFA.

21. If the Applicant were registered under the CFA as a "futures commission merchant", it could rely upon certain exemptions from the trading restrictions in the CFA to effect Futures Trades to be entered into on certain Non-Canadian Exchanges.

22. Section 3.1 of Rule 91-502 provides that any person who trades as agent in, or gives advice in respect of, a recognized option, as defined in section 1.1 of Rule 91-502, is required to successfully complete the Canadian Options Course (which has been replaced by the Derivatives Fundamentals Course and the Options Licensing Course).

23. All Representatives who would trade in options in the U.S. have satisfied the futures and options proficiency requirements of the National Futures Association (i.e., passed the National Commodity Futures Examination (Series 3) administered by FINRA or met such other alternatives to the Series 3 examination as permitted by the National Futures Association) and are registered in the capacity of Associated Person.

AND UPON the Commission and Director being satisfied that it would not be prejudicial to the public interest to grant the exemptions requested;

IT IS RULED, pursuant to section 38 of the CFA, that the Applicant is not subject to the dealer registration requirement set out in the CFA or the trading restrictions in the CFA in connection with Futures Trades where the Applicant is acting as agent in such trades to, from or on behalf of Permitted Clients provided that:

(a) each client effecting Futures Trades is a Permitted Client;

(b) the executing broker and clearing broker have each represented to the Applicant, and the Applicant has taken reasonable steps to verify, that it is appropriately registered under the CFA, or has been granted exemptive relief from the registration requirements in the CFA, in connection with the Permitted Client effecting Futures Trades;

(c) the Applicant only introduces Futures Trades for Permitted Clients on Non-Canadian Exchanges;

(d) at the time trading activity is engaged in, the Applicant:

(i) has its head office or principal place of business in the U.S.;

(ii) is registered in the category of introducing broker with the CFTC,

(iii) is a member of the NFA; and

(iv) engages in the business of an introducing broker in Exchange-Traded Futures in the U.S.;

(e) the Applicant has provided to the Permitted Client the following disclosure in writing:

(i) a statement that the Applicant is not registered in Ontario to trade in Exchange-Traded Futures as principal or agent;

(ii) a statement that the Applicant's head office or principal place of business is located in New York in the U.S.;

(iii) a statement that all or substantially all of the Applicant's assets may be situated outside of Canada;

(iv) a statement that there may be difficulty enforcing legal rights against the Applicant because of the above; and

(v) the name and address of the Applicant's agent for service of process in Ontario.

(f) the Applicant has submitted to the Commission a completed Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service in the form attached as Appendix "A" hereto;

(g) the Applicant notifies the Commission of any regulatory action initiated after the date of this ruling in respect of the Applicant, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the Applicant, by completing and filing with the Commission Appendix "B" hereto within ten days of the commencement of such action;

(h) if the Applicant does not rely on the international dealer exemption in section 8.18 of NI 31-103 (the IDE), by December 31st of each year, the Applicant pays a participation fee based on its specified Ontario revenues for its previous financial year in compliance with the requirements of Part 3 and section 6.4 of OSC Rule 13-502 Fees as if the Applicant relied on the IDE; and

(i) by December 1st of each year, the Applicant notifies the Commission of its continued reliance on the exemption from the dealer registration requirement granted pursuant to this Decision by filing Form 13-502F4 Capital Markets Participation Fee Calculation; and

(j) this Decision will terminate on the earliest of:

(A) the expiry of any such transition period as may be provided by law, after the effective date of the repeal of the CFA;

(B) six months, or such other transition period as may be provided by law, after the coming into force of any amendment to Ontario commodity futures law (as defined in the CFA) or Ontario securities law (as defined in the OSA) that affects the dealer registration requirement in the CFA or the trading restrictions in the CFA; and

(C) five years after the date of this Decision.

AND IT IS FURTHER RULED, pursuant to section 38 of the CFA, that a Permitted Client is not subject to the dealer registration requirement in the CFA or the trading restrictions in the CFA in connection with Futures Trades on Non-Canadian Exchanges where the Applicant acts in connection with Futures Trades on behalf of the Permitted Client pursuant to the above ruling.

"Philip Anisman"
Commissioner
Ontario Securities Commission
 
"Deborah Leckman"
Commissioner
Ontario Securities Commission


IT IS THE DECISION
of the Director, pursuant to section 6.1 of Rule 91-502, that section 3.1 of Rule 91-502 does not apply to the Applicant's Representatives in respect of Futures Trades, provided that:

(a) the Applicant and its Representatives maintain their respective registrations and memberships with the CFTC and NFA which permit them to facilitate trades in commodity futures options in the U.S.; and

(b) this Decision will terminate on the earliest of:

(A) the expiry of any such transition period as may be provided by law, after the effective date of the repeal of the CFA;

(B) six months, or such other transition period as may be provided by law, after the coming into force of any amendment to Ontario commodity futures law (as defined in the CFA) or Ontario securities law (as defined in the OSA) that affects the dealer registration requirement in the CFA or the trading restrictions in the CFA; and

(C) five years after the date of this Decision.

"Marrianne Bridge"
Deputy Director
Ontario Securities Commission

 

APPENDIX "A"

SUBMISSION TO JURISDICTION AND APPOINTMENT OF AGENT FOR SERVICE

INTERNATIONAL DEALER OR INTERNATIONAL ADVISER EXEMPTED FROM REGISTRATION UNDER THE COMMODITY FUTURES ACT, ONTARIO

1. Name of person or company ("International Firm"):

2. If the International Firm was previously assigned an NRD number as a registered firm or an unregistered exempt international firm, provide the NRD number of the firm:

3. Jurisdiction of incorporation of the International Firm:

4. Head office address of the International Firm:

5. The name, e-mail address, phone number and fax number of the International Firm's individual(s) responsible for the supervisory procedure of the International Firm, its chief compliance officer, or equivalent.

Name:
E-mail address:
Phone:
Fax:

6. The International Firm is relying on an exemption order under section 38 or section 80 of the Commodity Futures Act (Ontario) that is similar to the following exemption in National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations (the "Relief Order"):

[ ] Section 8.18 [international dealer]

[ ] Section 8.26 [international adviser]

[ ] Other [specify]:

7. Name of agent for service of process (the "Agent for Service"):

8. Address for service of process on the Agent for Service:

9. The International Firm designates and appoints the Agent for Service at the address stated above as its agent upon whom may be served a notice, pleading, subpoena, summons or other process in any action, investigation or administrative, criminal, quasi-criminal or other proceeding (a "Proceeding") arising out of or relating to or concerning the International Firm's activities in the local jurisdiction and irrevocably waives any right to raise as a defence in any such proceeding any alleged lack of jurisdiction to bring such Proceeding.

10. The International Firm irrevocably and unconditionally submits to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative tribunals of the local jurisdiction in any Proceeding arising out of or related to or concerning the International Firm's activities in the local jurisdiction.

11. Until 6 years after the International Firm ceases to rely on the Relief Order, the International Firm must submit to the regulator

a. a new Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service in this form no later than the 30th day before the date this Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service is terminated;

b. an amended Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service no later than the 30th day before any change in the name or above address of the Agent for Service;

c. a notice detailing a change to any information submitted in this form, other than the name or above address of the Agent for Service, no later than the 30th day after the change.

12. This Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service is governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the local jurisdiction.

Dated: _______________

______________________________

(Signature of the International Firm or authorized signatory)

______________________________

(Name of signatory)

______________________________

(Title of signatory)

Acceptance

The undersigned accepts the appointment as Agent for Service of _______________ [Insert name of International Firm] under the terms and conditions of the foregoing Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service.

Dated: _______________

______________________________

(Signature of the Agent for Service or authorized signatory)

______________________________

(Name of signatory)

______________________________

(Title of signatory)

This form, and notice of a change to any information submitted in this form, is to be submitted through the Ontario Securities Commission's Electronic Filing Portal:

https://www.osc.gov.on.ca/filings

 

APPENDIX "B"

NOTICE OF REGULATORY ACTION

1. Has the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates{1} of the firm entered into a settlement agreement with any financial services regulator, securities or derivatives exchange, SRO or similar agreement with any financial services regulator, securities or derivatives exchange, SRO or similar organization?

Yes _____ No _____

If yes, provide the following information for each settlement agreement:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Name of entity

Regulator/organization

Date of settlement (yyyy/mm/dd)

Details of settlement

Jurisdiction

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. Has any financial services regulator, securities or derivatives exchange, SRO or similar organization:

 

 

Yes

No

 

a)

Determined that the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm violated any securities regulations or any rules of a securities or derivatives exchange, SRO or similar organization?

_____

_____

 

(b)

Determined that the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm made a false statement or omission?

_____

_____

 

(c)

Issued a warning or requested an undertaking by the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm?

_____

_____

 

(d)

Suspended or terminated any registration, licensing or membership of the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm?

_____

_____

 

(e)

Imposed terms or conditions on any registration or membership of the firm, or predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm?

_____

_____

 

(f)

Conducted a proceeding or investigation involving the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm?

_____

_____

 

(g)

Issued an order (other than an exemption order) or a sanction to the firm, or any predecessors or specified affiliates of the firm for securities or derivatives-related activity (e.g. cease trade order)?

_____

_____

If yes, provide the following information for each action:

Name of entity

 

Type of action

 

Regulator/organization

 

Date of action (yyyy/mm/dd)

Reason for action

 

Jurisdiction

3. Is the firm aware of any ongoing investigation of which the firm or any of its specified affiliates is the subject?

Yes _____ No _____

If yes, provide the following information for each investigation:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Name of entity

Reason or purpose of investigation

Regulator/organization

Date investigation commenced (yyyy/mm/dd)

Jurisdiction

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Name of firm:

Name of firm's authorized signing officer or partner

Title of firm's authorized signing officer or partner

Signature

Date (yyyy/mm/dd)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Witness

The witness must be a lawyer, notary public or commissioner of oaths.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Name of witness

Title of witness

Signature

Date (yyyy/mm/dd)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This form is to be submitted through the Ontario Securities Commission's Electronic Filing Portal:

https://www.osc.gov.on.ca/filings

{1} In this Appendix, the term "specified affiliate" has the meaning ascribed to that term in Form 33-109F6 to National Instrument 33-109 Registration Information.