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April 1, 2000

Hot Bulletin Board Creates More Jobs

By Sanford Wexler

A surge in OTC bulletin board share volume is fuelling a hiring boom on some trading desks.

Since early November, share volume has tripled in bulletin board trading, according to statistics compiled by the National Association of Securities Dealers. About 8.6 billion shares were traded in November. That number rose to 24.2 billion shares in February.

Now several market makers are scrambling to find qualified pros to handle the heavy trading.

Knight Securities in Jersey City said it is tripling the size of its bulletin board trading team and support staff, bringing total headcount to about 70. Other firms feeling the effects of the boom are Sharpe Capital in New York, which is also trying to add staff.

Sharpe has 21 bulletin board traders and plans to promote three assistants and hire two more traders.

Internet Driven

The Internet is partly credited for the boom. Ken Pasternak, chief executive of Knight Securities, said the Net allows investors the ability to do their own analysis in hitherto obscure issues. "Self-directed investors are looking for undiscovered gems," Pasternak said.

Bill Kirincich, head of OTC trading at Sharpe, agreed. He said the Internet, especially the investor-related chat rooms, helps stir up the volume.