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July 31, 2000

Bernstein Pros Safe In Alliance's Arms

By Peter Chapman

Traders at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. are in no danger of losing their jobs following the firm's takeover by mutual fund giant Alliance Capital Management. Bernstein, which houses both a buy-side and a sell-side operation, will continue to operate independently.

"This combination was not intended to integrate trading and other operations," said Bernstein chief executive Roger Hertog. "Those trading organizations will continue under Alliance just as they are today."

The desks will not see reductions in headcount, he said. Bernstein, with about $80 billion in assets, maintains separate desks to service its asset management and institutional research services divisions. The 18-person sell-side desk, run by Sean Mahoney, handled 4.3 billion listed shares in 1999, ranking it number 17, according to AutEx/BlockData, a service of Thomson Financial. Nasdaq trading was negligible.

Wall Street analysts have speculated that Alliance could spin-off Bernstein's sell-side operation because Alliance is strictly a buy-side player. Total assets under management at Alliance are $395 billion.

Alliance's global trading operation is headed by Tom Bardong, who manages 12 traders in New York; three in London; two in Tokyo; and one in Singapore.

In New York, eight pros trade listed shares while some also handle derivatives and international names.

A syndicate manager coordinates IPOs and secondaries with Alliance portfolio managers. Four traders handle Nasdaq shares. The group trades about 20 million listed and six million Nasdaq shares per day, according to Bardong.