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June 30, 2001

Divorce Final! Nasdaq Makes It Official

By Gregory Bresiger

The NASD and the Nasdaq recently took another important step in their divorce proceedings.

"This is an application to be recognized for what we essentially already are. It is a change in our legal status, as opposed to the way Nasdaq operates." So wrote Richard Ketchum, president of Nasdaq, in a letter that was published in the Federal Register. Nasdaq, he argues in the letter, is today a de facto exchange and now is asking for legal recognition of that status.

The legal process of separating the two organizations has been going on for about a year now. But recently the Securities and Exchange Commission officially published Nasdaq's application for exchange status.

The SEC is providing a 45-day comment period on the application. The comment period is scheduled to last until the end of July.

And if approved, the application would mean that, "Nasdaq will able to complete its separation from the NASD and be a truly independent organization owned by investors," according to Ketchum. "At that point, Nasdaq will be able to access the capital markets to access technology improvements and to continue building the world's first global equity marketplace."

Nasdaq's legal status today is as a subsidiary of NASD. Nasdaq operates under the NASD's self-regulatory organization as a national securities organization.