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August 31, 2000

Traders' Uncertain Future At Brundage, Story & Rose

By Peter Chapman

The pending acquisition of the equities divisions of money manager Brundage, Story & Rose by the Bessemer Trust Company puts a question mark over the futures of Brundage's three traders. Brundage trades mostly retail-sized orders while Bessemer has stepped up its investments in technology to automate trading of those orders.

The Brundage desk is headed by Mary Conaghan, a 13-year veteran with the firm, and handles the order flow from the firm's private-client and institutional-equity groups. Equity assets total $4.5 billion. Traders handle roughly 150 trades per day, each averaging 1,000 shares, according to Conaghan. "The logistics of the transaction are still being worked out," said Conaghan, when asked about job prospects for Brundage traders. "We're playing it by ear."

At Bessemer, electronic systems such as Instinet and Bridge/IOE handle smaller orders, freeing up traders Wayne Miller and Ed St. John for huge block trades. "Position sizes here get as big as three or four million shares," St. John said. "A one percent position here in the largest of funds runs about $95 million."

Bessemer, with $30 billion in assets, manages money for custodial accounts and hedge funds. Stocks are both Nasdaq and listed and range in size from small-cap to large. It executes about 250 trades per day, according to St. John. The deal follows by one month the acquisition of Sanford Bernstein by buy-side giant Alliance.