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In Brief

Nasdaq has signed a letter of intent to offer investors and market makers an electronic trading platform using Primex Trading technology. The system is expected to be available for trading Nasdaq and NYSE securities this summer. It will give NASD members to access the Primex Auction System platform to seek price improvement through exposure to other electronic participants such as brokers, dealers and sponsored institutions. Through the auction platform market makers, order-entry firms and ECNs would enter orders into the system anonymously to interact with other orders and improve upon the current best bid or offer. The NASD board also approved a preliminary plan for major restructuring, which is still awaiting a final vote by the board expected to take place in early January.

In an effort to increase liquidity and execution prices, the Brut electronic communications network (ECN) will provide access to institutional investors. A current BRUT broker/dealer subscriber must sponsor an institution that wishes to trade through the ECN. In the past three months Brut has added 25 institutions to its roster of participants, which includes over 160 broker/dealers.

The board of the Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE) announced it is going forward with plans to demutualize. The recommendation of the board allocates 68.5% of SFE shares to floor members, 18.5% to local members, 7.4% to associate members and 5.6% to temporary local members. Members within each class will have equal entitlement. The SFE now plans to brief members on the process and discuss arrangements regarding access and trading following the demutualization.

The trading systems group of BT North America has changed its name to Syntegra and will be a part of its global consulting and information systems business. Recently acquired Control Data Systems, an e-commerce and integration specialist, will also be renamed and operate under Syntegra. The Syntegra unit provides design, support and development of information and communication systems as well as electronic solutions for businesses.

The equity index futures and options contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange was up 25% over last year's levels.

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