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Securities Exchange Act of 1934





Section 17A -- National System for Clearance and Settlement of Securities Transactions


  1. Congressional findings; facilitating establishment of system

    1. The Congress finds that--

      1. The prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions, including the transfer of record ownership and the safeguarding of securities and funds related thereto, are necessary for the protection of investors and persons facilitating transactions by and acting on behalf of investors.

      2. Inefficient procedures for clearance and settlement impose unnecessary costs on investors and persons facilitating transactions by and acting on behalf of investors.

      3. New data processing and communications techniques create the opportunity for more efficient, effective, and safe procedures for clearance and settlement.

      4. The linking of all clearance and settlement facilities and the development of uniform standards and procedures for clearance and settlement will reduce unnecessary costs and increase the protection of investors and persons facilitating transactions by and acting on behalf of investors.

      1. The Commission is directed, therefore, having due regard for the public interest, the protection of investors, the safeguarding of securities and funds, and maintenance of fair competition among brokers and dealers, clearing agencies, and transfer agents, to use its authority under this title--

        1. to facilitate the establishment of a national system for the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of transactions in securities (other than exempt securities); and

        2. to facilitate the establishment of linked or coordinated facilities for clearance and settlement of transactions in securities, securities options, contracts of sale for future delivery and options thereon, and commodity options;

        in accordance with the findings and to carry out the objectives set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

      2. The Commission shall use its authority under this title to assure equal regulation under this title of registered clearing agencies and registered transfer agents. In carrying out its responsibilities set forth in subparagraph (A)(ii) of this paragraph, the Commission shall coordinate with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and consult with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

  2. Registration of clearing agencies; application; determinations by Commission requisite to registration of applicant as clearing agency; denial of participation; discipline; summary proceedings

    1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any clearing agency, unless registered in accordance with this subsection, directly or indirectly, to make use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce to perform the functions of a clearing agency with respect to any security (other than an exempted security). The Commission, by rule or order, upon its own motion or upon application, may conditionally or unconditionally exempt any clearing agency or security or any class of clearing agencies or securities from any provisions of this section or the rules or regulations thereunder, if the Commission finds that such exemption is consistent with the public interest, the protection of investors, and the purposes of this section, including the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and the safeguarding of securities and funds. A clearing agency or transfer agent shall not perform the functions of both a clearing agency and a transfer agent unless such clearing agency or transfer agent is registered in accordance with this subsection and subsection (c).

    2. A clearing agency may be registered under the terms and conditions hereinafter provided in this subsection and in accordance with the provisions of section 19(a), by filing with the Commission an application for registration in such form as the Commission, by rule, may prescribe containing the rules of the clearing agency and such other information and documents as the Commission, by rule, may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions.

    3. A clearing agency shall not be registered unless the Commission determines that--

      1. Such clearing agency is so organized and has the capacity to be able to facilitate the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and derivative agreements, contracts, and transactions for which it is responsible, to safeguard securities and funds in its custody or control or for which it is responsible, to comply with the provisions of this title and the rules and regulations thereunder, to enforce (subject to any rule or order of the Commission pursuant to section 17(d) or 19(g)(2)) compliance by its participants with the rules of the clearing agency, and to carry out the purposes of this section.

      2. Subject to the provisions of paragraph (4) of this subsection, the rules of the clearing agency provide that any (i) registered broker or dealer, (ii) other registered clearing agency, (iii) registered investment company, (iv) bank, (v) insurance company, or (vi) other person or class of persons as the Commission, by rule, may from time to time designate as appropriate to the development of a national system for the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions may become a participant in such clearing agency.

      3. The rules of the clearing agency assure a fair representation of its shareholders (or members) and participants in the selection of its directors and administration of its affairs. (The Commission may determine that the representation of participants is fair if they are afforded a reasonable opportunity to acquire voting stock of the clearing agency, directly or indirectly, in reasonable proportion to their use of such clearing agency.)

      4. The rules of the clearing agency provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its participants.

      5. The rules of the clearing agency do not impose any schedule of prices, or fix rates or other fees, for services rendered by its participants.

      6. The rules of the clearing agency are designed to promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and, to the extent applicable, derivative agreements, contracts, and transactions, to assure the safeguarding of securities and funds which are in the custody or control of the clearing agency or for which it is responsible, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in the clearance and settlement of securities transactions, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a national system for the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest; and are not designed to permit unfair discrimination in the admission of participants or among participants in the use of the clearing agency, or to regulate by virtue of any authority conferred by this title matters not related to the purposes of this section or the administration of the clearing agency.

      7. The rules of the clearing agency provide that (subject to any rule or order of the Commission pursuant to section 17(d) or 19(g)(2)) its participants shall be appropriately disciplined for violation of any provision of the rules of the clearing agency by expulsion, suspension, limitation of activities, functions, and operations, fine, censure, or any other fitting sanction.

      8. The rules of the clearing agency are in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (5) of this subsection, and, in general, provide a fair procedure with respect to the disciplining of participants, the denial of participation to any person seeking participation therein, and the prohibition or limitation by the clearing agency of any person with respect to access to services offered by the clearing agency.

      9. The rules of the clearing agency do not impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of this title.

      1. A registered clearing agency may, and in cases in which the Commission, by order, directs as appropriate in the public interest shall, deny participation to any person subject to a statutory disqualification. A registered clearing agency shall file notice with the Commission not less than thirty days prior to admitting any person to participation, if the clearing agency knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, that such person was subject to a statutory disqualification. The notice shall be in such form and contain such information as the Commission, by rule, may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.

      2. A registered clearing agency may deny participation to, or condition the participation of, any person if such person does not meet such standards of financial responsibility, operational capability, experience, and competence as are prescribed by the rules of the clearing agency. A registered clearing agency may examine and verify the qualifications of an applicant to be a participant in accordance with procedures established by the rules of the clearing agency.

      1. In any proceeding by a registered clearing agency to determine whether a participant should be disciplined (other than a summary proceeding pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this paragraph), the clearing agency shall bring specific charges, notify such participant of, and give him an opportunity to defend against such charges, and keep a record. A determination by the clearing agency to impose a disciplinary sanction shall be supported by a statement setting forth--

        1. any act or practice in which such participant has been found to have engaged, or which such participant has been found to have omitted;

        2. the specific provisions of the rules of the clearing agency which any such act or practice, or omission to act, is deemed to violate; and

        3. the sanction imposed and the reasons therefor.

      2. In any proceeding by a registered clearing agency to determine whether a person shall be denied participation or prohibited or limited with respect to access to services offered by the clearing agency, the clearing agency shall notify such person of, and give him an opportunity to be heard upon, the specific grounds for denial or prohibition or limitation under consideration and keep a record. A determination by the clearing agency to deny participation or prohibit or limit a person with respect to access to services offered by the clearing agency shall be supported by a statement setting forth the specific grounds on which the denial or prohibition or limitation is based.

      3. A registered clearing agency may summarily suspend and close the accounts of a participant who (i) has been and is expelled or suspended from any self- regulatory organization, (ii) is in default of any delivery of funds or securities to the clearing agency, or (iii) is in such financial or operating difficulty that the clearing agency determines and so notifies the appropriate regulatory agency for such participant that such suspension and closing of accounts are necessary for the protection of the clearing agency, its participants, creditors, or investors. A participant so summarily suspended shall be promptly afforded an opportunity for a hearing by the clearing agency in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. The appropriate regulatory agency for such participant, by order, may stay any such summary suspension on its own motion or upon application by any person aggrieved thereby, if such appropriate regulatory agency determines summarily or after notice and opportunity for hearing (which hearing may consist solely of the submission of affidavits or presentation of oral arguments) that such stay is consistent with the public interest and protection of investors.

    4. No registered clearing agency shall prohibit or limit access by any person to services offered by any participant therein.

      1. A clearing agency that is regulated directly or indirectly by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through its association with a designated contract market for security futures products that is a national securities exchange registered pursuant to section 6(g), and that would be required to register pursuant to paragraph (1) only because it performs the functions of a clearing agency with respect to security futures products effected pursuant to the rules of the designated contract market with which such agency is associated, is exempted from the provisions of this section and the rules and regulations thereunder, except that if such a clearing agency performs the functions of a clearing agency with respect to a security futures product that is not cash settled, it must have arrangements in place with a registered clearing agency to effect the payment and delivery of the securities underlying the security futures product.

      2. Any clearing agency that performs the functions of a clearing agency with respect to security futures products must coordinate with and develop fair and reasonable links with any and all other clearing agencies that perform the functions of a clearing agency with respect to security futures products, in order to permit, as of the compliance date (as defined in section 6(h)(7)(C)), security futures products to be purchased on one market and offset on another market that trades such products.

    5. A registered clearing agency shall be permitted to provide facilities for the clearance and settlement of any derivative agreements, contracts, or transactions that are excluded from the Commodity Exchange Act, subject to the requirements of this section and to such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of this title.

  3. Registration of transfer agents

    1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any transfer agent, unless registered in accordance with this section, directly or indirectly, to make use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce to perform the function of a transfer agent with respect to any security registered under section 12 or which would be required to be registered except for the exemption from registration provided by subsection (g)(2)(B) or (g)(2)(G) of that section. The appropriate regulatory agency, by rule or order, upon its own motion or upon application, may conditionally or unconditionally exempt any person or security or class of persons or securities from any provision of this section or any rule or regulation prescribed under this section, if the appropriate regulatory agency finds (A) that such exemption is in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes of this section, including the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and the safeguarding of securities and funds, and (B) the Commission does not object to such exemption.

    2. A transfer agent may be registered by filing with the appropriate regulatory agency for such transfer agent an application for registration in such form and containing such information and documents concerning such transfer agent and any persons associated with the transfer agent as such appropriate regulatory agency may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of this section. Except as hereinafter provided, such registration shall become effective 45 days after receipt of such application by such appropriate regulatory agency or within such shorter period of time as such appropriate regulatory agency may determine.

    3. The appropriate regulatory agency for a transfer agent, by order, shall deny registration to, censure, place limitations on the activities, functions, or operations of, suspend for a period not exceeding 12 months, or revoke the registration of such transfer agent, if such appropriate regulatory agency finds, on the record after notice and opportunity for hearing, that such denial, censure, placing of limitations, suspension, or revocation is in the public interest and that such transfer agent, whether prior or subsequent to becoming such, or any person associated with such transfer agent, whether prior or subsequent to becoming so associated--

      1. has committed or omitted any act, or is subject to an order or finding, enumerated in subparagraph (A), (D), (E), (H), or (G) of paragraph (4) of section 15(b), has been convicted of any offense specified in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph (4) within ten years of the commencement of the proceedings under this paragraph, or is enjoined from any action, conduct, or practice specified in subparagraph (C) of such paragraph (4); or

      2. is subject to an order entered pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (4) of this subsection barring or suspending the right of such person to be associated with a transfer agent.

      1. Pending final determination whether any registration by a transfer agent under this subsection shall be denied, the appropriate regulatory agency for such transfer agent, by order, may postpone the effective date of such registration for a period not to exceed fifteen days, but if, after notice and opportunity for hearing (which may consist solely of affidavits and oral arguments), it shall appear to such appropriate regulatory agency to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors to postpone the effective date of such registration until final determination, such appropriate regulatory agency shall so order. Pending final determination whether any registration under this subsection shall be revoked, such appropriate regulatory agency, by order, may suspend such registration, if such suspension appears to such appropriate regulatory agency, after notice and opportunity for hearing, to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.

      2. A registered transfer agent may, upon such terms and conditions as the appropriate regulatory agency for such transfer agent deems necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or in furtherance of the purposes of this section, withdraw from registration by filing a written notice of withdrawal with such appropriate regulatory agency. If such appropriate regulatory agency finds that any transfer agent for which it is the appropriate regulatory agency, is no longer in existence or has ceased to do business as a transfer agent, such appropriate regulatory agency, by order, shall cancel or deny the registration.

      3. The appropriate regulatory agency for a transfer agent, by order, shall censure or place limitations on the activities or functions of any person associated, seeking to become associated, or, at the time of the alleged misconduct, associated or seeking to become associated with the transfer agent, or suspend for a period not exceeding twelve months or bar any such person from being associated with the transfer agent, if the appropriate regulatory agency finds, on the record after notice and opportunity for hearing, that such censure, placing of limitations, suspension, or bar is in the public interest and that such person has committed or omitted any act, or is subject to an order or finding, enumerated in subparagraph (A), (D), (E), (H), or (G) of paragraph (4) of section 15(b), has been convicted of any offense specified in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph (4) within ten years of the commencement of the proceedings under this paragraph, or is enjoined from any action, conduct, or practice specified in subparagraph (C) of such paragraph (4). It shall be unlawful for any person as to whom such an order suspending or barring him from being associated with a transfer agent is in effect willfully to become, or to be, associated with a transfer agent without the consent of the appropriate regulatory agency that entered the order and the appropriate regulatory agency for that transfer agent. It shall be unlawful for any transfer agent to permit such a person to become, or remain, a person associated with it without the consent of such appropriate regulatory agencies, if the transfer agent knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, of such order. The Commission may establish, by rule, procedures by which a transfer agent reasonably can determine whether a person associated or seeking to become associated with it is subject to any such order, and may require, by rule, that any transfer agent comply with such procedures.

  4. Activities of clearing agencies and transfer agents; enforcement by appropriate regulatory agencies

    1. No registered clearing agency or registered transfer agent shall, directly or indirectly, engage in any activity as clearing agency or transfer agent in contravention of such rules and regulations (A) as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of this title, or (B) as the appropriate regulatory agency for such clearing agency or transfer agent may prescribe as necessary or appropriate for the safeguarding of securities and funds.

    2. With respect to any clearing agency or transfer agent for which the Commission is not the appropriate regulatory agency, the appropriate regulatory agency for such clearing agency or transfer agent may, in accordance with section 1818 of Title 12, enforce compliance by such clearing agency or transfer agent with the provisions of this section, sections 17 and 19, and the rules and regulations thereunder. For purposes of the preceding sentence, any violation of any such provision shall constitute adequate basis for the issuance of an order under section 1818(b) or 1818(c) of Title 12, and the participants in any such clearing agency and the persons doing business with any such transfer agent shall be deemed to be "depositors" as that term is used in section 1818(c) of Title 12.

      1. With respect to any clearing agency or transfer agent for which the Commission is not the appropriate regulatory agency, the Commission and the appropriate regulatory agency for such clearing agency or transfer agent shall consult and cooperate with each other, and, as may be appropriate, with State banking authorities having supervision over such clearing agency or transfer agent toward the end that, to the maximum extent practicable, their respective regulatory responsibilities may be fulfilled and the rules and regulations applicable to such clearing agency or transfer agent may be in accord with both sound banking practices and a national system for the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions. In accordance with this objective--

        1. the Commission and such appropriate regulatory agency shall, at least fifteen days prior to the issuance for public comment of any proposed rule or regulation or adoption of any rule or regulation concerning such clearing agency or transfer agent, consult and request the views of the other; and

        2. such appropriate regulatory agency shall assume primary responsibility to examine and enforce compliance by such clearing agency or transfer agent with the provisions of this section and sections 17 and 19.

      2. Nothing in the preceding subparagraph or elsewhere in this title shall be construed to impair or limit (other than by the requirement of notification) the Commission's authority to make rules under any provision of this title or to enforce compliance pursuant to any provision of this title by any clearing agency, transfer agent, or person associated with a transfer agent with the provisions of this title and the rules and regulations thereunder.

    3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the authority of any State banking authority or other State or Federal regulatory authority having jurisdiction over a person registered as a clearing agency, transfer agent, or person associated with a transfer agent, to make and enforce rules governing such person which are not inconsistent with this title and the rules and regulations thereunder.

    4. A registered transfer agent may not, directly or indirectly, engage in any activity in connection with the guarantee of a signature of an endorser of a security, including the acceptance or rejection of such guarantee, in contravention of such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, to facilitate the equitable treatment of financial institutions which issue such guarantees, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of this title.

  5. Physical movement of securities certificates

    The Commission shall use its authority under this title to end the physical movement of securities certificates in connection with the settlement among brokers and dealers of transactions in securities consummated by means of the mails or any means or instrumentalities of interstate commerce.

  6. Rules concerning transfer of securities and rights and obligations of involved or affected parties

    1. Notwithstanding any provision of State law, except as provided in paragraph (3), if the Commission makes each of the findings described in paragraph (2)(A), the Commission may adopt rules concerning--

      1. the transfer of certificated or uncertificated securities (other than government securities issued pursuant to chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, or securities otherwise processed within a book-entry system operated by the Federal Reserve banks pursuant to a Federal book entry regulation) or limited interests (including security interests) therein; and

      2. rights and obligations of purchasers, sellers, owners, lenders, borrowers, and financial intermediaries (including brokers, dealers, banks, and clearing agencies) involved in or affected by such transfers, and the rights of third parties whose interests in such securities devolve from such transfers.

      1. The findings described in this paragraph are findings by the Commission that--

        1. such rule is necessary or appropriate for the protection of investors or in the public interest and is reasonably designed to promote the prompt, accurate, and safe clearance and settlement of securities transactions;

        2. in the absence of a uniform rule, the safe and efficient operation of the national system for clearance and settlement of securities transactions will be, or is, substantially impeded; and

        3. to the extent such rule will impair or diminish, directly or indirectly, rights of persons specified in paragraph (1)(B) under State law concerning transfers of securities (or limited interests therein), the benefits of such rule outweigh such impairment or diminution of rights.

      2. In making the findings described in subparagraph (A), the Commission shall give consideration to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee established under paragraph (4), and it shall consult with and consider the views of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. If the Secretary of the Treasury objects, in writing, to any proposed rule of the Commission on the basis of the Secretary's view on the issues described in clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) of subparagraph (A), the Commission shall consider all feasible alternatives to the proposed rule, and it shall not adopt any such rule unless the Commission makes an explicit finding that the rule is the most practicable method for achieving safe and efficient operation of the national clearance and settlement system.

    2. Any State may, prior to the expiration of 2 years after the Commission adopts a rule under this subsection, enact a statute that specifically refers to this subsection and the specific rule thereunder and establishes, prospectively from the date of enactment of the State statute, a provision that differs from that applicable under the Commission's rule.

      1. Within 90 days after the date of enactment of this subsection [enacted Nov. 16, 1990], the Commission shall (and at such times thereafter as the Commission may determine, the Commission may), after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, establish an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.). The Advisory Committee shall be directed to consider and report to the Commission on such matters as the Commission, after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, determines, including the areas, if any, in which State commercial laws and related Federal laws concerning the transfer of certificated or uncertificated securities, limited interests (including security interests) in such securities, or the creation or perfection of security interests in such securities do not provide the necessary certainty, uniformity, and clarity for purchasers, sellers, owners, lenders, borrowers, and financial intermediaries concerning their respective rights and obligations.

      2. The Advisory Committee shall consist of 15 members, of which -

        1. 11 shall be designated by the Commission in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act; and

        2. 2 each shall be designated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Secretary of the Treasury.

      3. The Advisory Committee shall conduct its activities in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Within 6 months of its designation, or such longer time as the Commission may designate, the Advisory Committee shall issue a report to the Commission, and shall cause copies of that report to be delivered to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.


Legislative History


June 6, 1934, c. 404, Title I, § 17A, as added June 4, 1975, Pub.L. 94-29, § 15, 89 Stat. 141, and amended Dec. 4, 1987, Pub.L. 100-181, Title III, § 322, 101 Stat. 1257; Oct. 15, 1990, Pub.L. 101-429, Title II, § 206, 104 Stat. 941; Oct. 16, 1990, Pub.L. 101-432, § 5, 104 Stat. 973; Nov. 15, 1990, Pub.L. 101-550, Title II, § 203(c)(1), 104 Stat. 2718; Dec. 21, 2000, Pub.L. 106-554, § 1(a)(5) [Title II, §§ 206(d), 207], 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A-431, 2763A-434; July 30, 2002, P.L. 107-204, Title VI, § 604(c)(1)(C), 116 Stat. 796.

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