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April 30, 2000

Compliance Needs Grow As Market Keeps Roarin'

By Sanford Wexler

The regulation of stock trading in a complex and busy market is producing a growing demand for seasoned compliance pros.

While pros in other areas of Wall Street are also in great demand, the compliance side is viewed as a priority for both small and larger firms.

Nasdaq supergiant Knight Securities, for instance, recently added some six compliance examiners. Many of the pros come from the ranks of the National Association of Securities Dealers' regulatory unit, NASD Regulation, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Knight Securities named Leonard Amoruso, formerly the deputy director and chief prosecutor in NASD Regulation's New York office, as assistant general counsel and chief compliance officer. The firm hired John McCarthy, who was the SEC's assistant director of compliance and inspections and examinations, as a regulatory affairs officer.

These pros will play an important role as Knight/Trimark Group, parent company of Knight Securities, contributes to the debate on market structure, said Michael Dorsey, senior vice president and general counsel at Knight/Trimark Group. "We are a big player and we want our voice heard," he added.

Deep Pockets

Meanwhile, smaller firms hunting for compliance pros have a decidedly different challenge than much larger outfits. For starters, many small firms do not have deep pockets like the powerhouses.

D.A. Davidson & Co. in Great Falls, Mont. is scouting for an additional pro to join its three-person team. "We are struggling," said Arlene Wilson, director of compliance at the firm. "The regulation is just beating us to death."

The search is not easy. "Finding securities professionals in Montana is kind of difficult," Wilson said.