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July 31, 1998

At Deadline - Live OptiMark?

By John A. Byrne

One obstacle holding back Jersey City-based OptiMark Technologies' plan to go live this fall is approval by regulators that would allow an electronic link between its superanonymous trade system and the Intermarket Trading System (ITS). OptiMark's launch has been delayed at least a month, in part because of objections by the New York Stock Exchange to the ITS link.

For its part, the Big Board has proposed that orders entered into OptiMark be held at the PCX for 15 seconds before hitting the ITS. The Big Board had threatened to petition the Securities Industry Automated Corporation to refuse OptiMark business if the Big Board proposal was ignored. Another question for OptiMark hovers over the agreement between the PCX and the Chicago Board Options Exchange to merge. As part of the agreement, the PCX would exit from the stock-trading business. If so, does that leave OptiMark without its own partner? "We don't really know if the Pacific will get out of the stock business," said OptiMark Senior Vice President Alan Danson. "If OptiMark is successful, the question really is, Why would anybody want to get rid of it? [OptiMark] is of great value to the Pacific.'"

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