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April 30, 1998

31(a) Relief?

By John A. Byrne

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) is reportedly considering a bill that could save Nasdaq traders up to $20 million annually on 31(a) transaction fees on wholesale orders.

D'Amato, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, was apparently prodded by Nasdaq President Al Berkeley, who has expressed support for a concerted campaign by Nasdaq traders for the abolition of fees on dealer-to-dealer trades. National Association of Securities Dealers President Frank Zarb has added his voice to the chorus of protests.

However, D'Amato and the crew may need to win the support of Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H), chairman of the Senate Appropriations, Commerce, State and Judiciary Subcommittee, who is not impressed with the traders' fight. He told our man in Washington that the fight was just a "rhubarb" and a lot of hot air.