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July 31, 2000

Bloomberg In, Spear, Leeds Out In Order Management Business

By Peter Chapman

Building a trade order management system for demanding Nasdaq traders has never been easy. But Bloomberg is giving it a go while the Eagle Software division of Spear, Leeds & Kellogg has temporarily exited the business.

Bloomberg has a limited presence in Nasdaq trading rooms, but hopes to change that when it introduces order management functionality this summer to its ubiquitous terminal. Bloomberg is working with eight broker dealers to develop the trading product. This pits it against leading vendor, SunGard Trading Systems with its BRASS system, as well as such firms as OM Technology and Royal Blue. Nasdaq will soon be a competitor with its Nasdaq Tools product.

Bloomberg is best known for market data but this won't be its first foray into trading systems. It has sold a fixed-income trading system since its inception 20 years ago and introduced a buy-side equity trading system in 1998. It also runs an order routing service called the Electronic Equity Marketplace which connects the buyside with the sellside and Thomson Financial's AutEx/TradeRoute.

Eagle Software also had high hopes of selling its EagleTrader as a "BRASS killer." Developed by Mike Appleby for internal use at Spear, Leeds and eventual sale to market makers, the top wholesaler pulled the system from the market earlier this summer. Appleby was reassigned to a special project.

Appleby says the system has been temporarily "held back" as SLK is "short of resources." A former demo user also says the pullback is only temporary until all the bugs have been worked out. "By this time next year I hope to be off the BRASS system and on Eagle Trader," said Brett Wien, a partner in Jersey City's Wien Securities. Other demo firms are Spear, Leeds' clearing customers M.H. Meyerson, North American Institutional Brokers and Paragon.