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February 1, 1999

A Survey of Best Execution Conducted by Service Group

By Staff Reporters

A Northport, N.Y.-based provider of best-execution services has embarked on a survey to define the parameters of fair, or so-called best execution, for Nasdaq and listed equity transactions.

The Transaction Auditing Group (TAG) said respondents will rate, on a scale of one to five, the importance of 25 best-execution factors affecting market orders, limit orders and block trades.

The factors include execution speed, price improvement, the volume weighted average price, or VWAP, fees and commissions. Market orders, limit orders and block trades will be examined.

The survey is open to trading managers, compliance officers, self-regulatory personnel and regulators and academics, as well as officials at exchanges, market makers and broker dealers.

TAG said the survey continues its efforts to foster discussion on best execution and how to measure it. TAG began this process in early 1997 by sponsoring The Industry Advisory Board on Best Execution. The group meets regularly to discuss issues of importance as the industry seeks to comply with regulatory directives on best-execution obligations.

"The advisory board recognizes that procedures and techniques to measure trade quality must continually evolve, reflecting changes in the marketplace and advances in technology," said TAG President Alan Shapiro, in a prepared statement.

"In order to ensure that it keep up with important industry views, TAG is conducting the [survey] to determine the importance industry members place on various measures," he added.

The results of the survey will be available to all participants, and will be discussed at the next advisory-board meeting in the first quarter of this year.