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Trading Briefs: Bear Stearns Picks FutureTrade Platform for Prime Brokerage Clients, and more stories

Bear Stearns Picks FutureTrade Platform for Prime Brokerage Clients; Futures broker R.J. O' Brien Hires Whalen as CIO; Liquidnet's Average Daily Volume More Than Doubled in 2004; Cameron Systems Partners with FIX certification and testing firm in Chicago Market; Swapstream Adds Four Banks to Interest-Rate Swap Platform

Bear, Stearns & Co. will provide Future Trade's institutional electronic trading platform to Bear Stearn's global prime brokerage clients.

The strategic alliance was announced by both firms on Wednesday. Commenting on the alliance, Ron Suber, Bear Stearns, states in the release that Bear Stearns has achieved its leading position in prime brokerage through a combination of technology and service. "FutureTrade offers an added dimension of service to our suite of trading tools," he further adds in the release.

FutureTrade provides buy-side traders with a fully integrated direct-access trading platform for equities and options. The platform provides traders with access to liquidity on all major exchanges, electronic communications networks, alternative trading systems, market makers, the New York Stock Exchange's DOT (Designated Order Turnaround) system and five U.S. options exchanges. Not only can users enter orders and receive instantaneous executions, but they can track multiple portfolios, access market data and see advanced analytics through a single integrated workstation.

Futures broker R.J. O' Brien Hires Whalen as CIO

R.J. O'Brien, the futures brokerage firm, hired Terrence Whalen, a technology veteran from the insurance industry, to become chief information officer, the firm announced on Wednesday.

Whalen, 49, joined RJO from the Lincoln Financial Group where he was CIO for its First Penn Pacific Life Affiliate since 2000. Prior to that, he held senior IT positions at CNAFinancial Insurance and a variety of technology roles at Continental Insurance Corporation.

Whalen will be responsible for development, implementation and management of RJO's trading and IT.

In other news, R.J. O' Brien, a privately-owned futures commission merchant (FCM), announced that its customer assets grew to more than $1.1 billion in 2004, a 40 percent increase over 2003.

The futures broker cited significant growth in its retail, institutional and agri-business segments as well as its acquisition of Harmonic Investment Management, based in Memphis, Tenn., which sees growing customer demand for alternative investment products.

Liquidnet's Average Daily Volume More Than Doubled in 2004

Liquidnet reports that average daily volume on the electronic marketplace for block trading rose to 23 million shares for the fourth quarter of 2004, nearly an 11 percent increase over the third quarter and a 77 percent increase from the fourth quarter a year ago. For the year, Liquidnet had average daily volume of 20.2 million shares, more than double the firm's average daily volume in 2003. The brokerage firm announced its end-of-year and four quarter results on Tuesday.

Seth Merrin, chief executive officer of Liquinet, states in the release that the new volume records prove that its model gives institutions what they need: natural liquidity with size, anonymous executions that don't move the market and significant cost savings.

According to the firm, over the last two years, Liquidnet's quarter-over-quarter compounded growth rate has been nearly 20 percent, outpacing major market cents such as the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and other electronic trading venues. Liquidnet's average execution size was more than 40,000 shares throughout 2004.

In addition, Liquidnet Europe, traded more than one billion euros in European equities, which amounts to a 103 percent increase over the same quarter in 2003. Liquidnet Europe's average principal size per execution was more than ten times larger than that of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the firm reports. In the fourth quarter of 2004, Liquidnet Europe's average execution was 474,523 euros compared to 40,086 euros for the LSE.

Yesterday, Liquidnet Europe said its global pool of liquidity would include five new European markets -- Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Cameron Systems Partners with FIX certification and testing firm in Chicago Market

Cameron Systems partnered with Greenline Financial Technologies, a Chicago-based Financial Information Exchange (FIX) test-certification service provider for the financial trading community. One firm that has utilized the service is derivatives trading firm Patterson Capital markets, announced Cameron, a FIX connectivity solutions provider. According to Cameron's commercial director Martin Koopman, who is quoted in the release, there are significant developments happening in Chicago with the use of FIX for market data, pre-trade and post-trade messaging. The partnership furthers Cameron's commitment to the Chicago market, he indicates.

A Patterson Capital's president Zach Patterson states the company selected the joint Cameron Systems and Greenline FIX product to provide clients with the most robust execution capabilities available, according to the release.

Greenline has been a global provider of FIX Protocol testing and certification automation products and services for over four years. It's products, VeriFIX, MagniFIX and CertiFIX are utilized across the U.S., European and Australian marketplaces.

Swapstream Adds Four Banks to Interest-Rate Swap Platform

Swapstream, a multi-lateral electronic trading platform for medium and interest-rate swaps (IRS), added four new users: Banco Santander, Central Hispano, WestLB and ING Bank. They join existing banks and brokers on the platform.

Swapstream contends it offers the greatest liquidity (800 million euros on bid and offer) and the most competitive and tightest spreads in the electronic IRS industry.

Officials at three banks, who were quoted in the release, cite Swapstream's leading functionality, such as integrated futures-cross trading, and tools that allow them to manage and direct their own liquidity, as reasons for joining the platform.

Swapstream CEO Stephanie RIO states their participation supports the shift in the market toward electronic trading, adding, "intelligently applied technology can now meet the unique needs of the IRS market."

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