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Commentary: Project Turquoise Delay

Reports are swirling that Project Turquoise, the bank consortium-backed European equities trading platform, will now launch sometime in the second quarter of 2008.

Reports are swirling that Project Turquoise, the bank consortium-backed European equities trading platform, will now launch sometime in the second quarter of 2008.Initially the platform was on schedule to launch in November of this year, but setting up the core technology with a third-party provider has become a lengthy process and the consortium has yet to announce a chief executive.

"It's a disappointment, but not an unexpected disappointment," says Adam Sussman, senior consultant with the Tabb Group. "It's a consortium and consortiums are going to move slower."

He says that while in the sort term the delay is a negative for Project Turquoise, ultimately, "the positive is that when they are up and running and if the partners are committed to providing liquidity into the system, it should be pretty powerful."

Sussman adds, "a delay is never a good thing, but getting it right is much more important."

This week also saw news coming from Instinet's Chi-X platform announcing the addition of FTSE 100 stocks trading on its system. Sussman says, "Is a three, four or five month delay going to make a big difference for Turquoise in the scheme of things, probably not, but it definitely gives Chi-X more of a fighting chance."

But competition will be good for both platforms, Sussman says. "This is an environment where having a competitor is probably a good thing," he says. Project Turquoise backers include Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

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