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July 31, 1998

At Deadline - Standards

By John A. Byrne

Nasdaq market makers have stepped up their fight against new primary market-maker standards proposed by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Traders, in particular, have singled out the NASD's proposed net-liquidity rules, arguing that many market makers would be unable to fulfill those standards for a major proportion of their stocks.

A group of prominent trading firms, including Jersey City's Sherwood Securities and Herzog, Heine, Geduld, New York-based Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and San Francisco's Charles Schwab & Co., are working together to press the Securities and Exchange Commission to reverse the NASD plan.

In a letter, the firms outlined their own counterproposal. The Securities Industry Association's trading committee and the NASD's Quality of Market's Committee have been huddling on the NASD's proposal, hoping to hammer out a compromise plan, insiders said.

Meanwhile, trading sources expect the NASD to refile with the SEC parts of its plan to implement an order-delivery and exeuction system. The expectation is that the limit-order-book feature would be detached under the new proposal, from other parts of the system. The revamped plan is favored by many market makers once it includes a trade-through rule.