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BrokerTec Futures Exchange to shutter trading; Syntegra debuts release of multimedia-desktop-device for trading; TransactTools taps Berry for professional services.

BrokerTec Futures Exchange (BTEX), the only fully electronic fixed-income-futures exchange formed by leading U.S. brokerage firms, will cease trading at the close of business on Nov. 26, citing a decline in trading volume. Until that time, the exchange will permit trading only for the purpose of liquidating positions. The action was taken reluctantly by the Board after two years of operations in an effort to protect market participants, according to the announcement. Its thirty members include: Credit Suisse First Boston, Fimat USA, Goldman Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co., and UBS Securities. "In the last few months, trading volume on BTEX has dropped off substantially," states Hank Mlynarski, the exchange's president, in a release. According to Mlynarski's statement, the Board has not ruled out any options going forward. BrokerTec is also facing looming competition from Eurex, the Swiss-German futures exchange, which is establishing an electronic futures exchange to compete with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Syntegra will launch a new multimedia-desktop-device called ITS.Netrix that provides traders with the ability to manage all communications channels, including voice, video, instant messaging, e-mail and Web, through a single device. ITS.Netrix, which is based on the Linux operating system and can also host Java applications, will be available to Syntegra customers in 2004. Syntegra partnered with Kinneir Dufort Design, specialists in new product development and prototyping, to identify user requirements and anticipate future trends.

TransactTools, a provider of electronic-trading-connectivity solutions, hired Cydney Berry as vice president of professional services. Berry, who brings 15 years of experience in technology-services consulting, was previously at software firm Parametric Technology Corporation where she had worldwide responsibility for customer education delivery. Berry started her consulting career at Ernst & Young and has held senior positions with Atos-Origin (formerly Origin), BSG Alliance/IT and e2i Holding B.V., a B2B services company as founder and vice president responsible for European Services.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has licensed Open Link's Findur solution to support the bank's financial market operations across front, middle and back-office functions. Findur is an integrated, multi-market trading, risk, and operations solution that streamlines trade-lifecycle processes. RBA will implement Findur to replace multiple in-house systems, creating an integrated IT platform for dealing functionality, risk control, operations and accounting as well as settlement processing, including SWIFT connectivity.

National Securities Clearing Corp. (NSCC) and the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (FICC) plan to support an interface between their Real-Time-Trade-Matching (RTTM) system and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Trade-Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) for the real-time reporting of corporate-bond transactions. Street-side trades in corporate bonds will be sent to RTTM system for matching and then passed onto NSCC for clearance and settlement. An interface between RTTM and TRACE will be used to pass the required street-side and customer-side trade-data directly on to NASD for price reporting purposes in real-time. Plans to use RTTM for the real-time reporting of members' trades in municipal bonds were announced by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board in April. A common message-type will be used by RTTM for corporate and municipal bonds, as well as Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) that will allow members to submit trades to NSCC for both matching and regulatory reporting to the MSRB and the NASD via a single pipeline. Regulators would also use the pipeline for reporting any messages back to members.

Stockholm-based Orc Software is launching a server-based automated trading platform that gives market makers, traders and brokers greater control over programming and execution of their trading strategies. The system, known as Orc Liquidator, is an alternative to commonly used systems that allow only pre-defined parameter-driven trading strategies, according to the company. Liquidator comes with connectivity to more than 65 electronic exchanges and can be fully integrated with a firm's existing IT systems.

In other news, The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) has certified Orc's technology for the e-cbot trading platform (LIFFE Connect) which is due to launch on Nov. 23.

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