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January 1, 2002

ECNs Lose First Round on Fees

By Gregory Bresiger

BRUT and NexTrade, along with some other ECNs, have lost in their initial attempts to derail scheduled increases in Nasdaq fees that were slated to take effect on Dec. 3. The first two rounds took effect in October and November.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently ruled against the two electronic communication networks. But Nasdaq, under pressure from ECNs, was officially compelled by the agency to reopen the third scheduled fee hike for public comment.

"This is not the normal way an SRO makes rules changes and now I think Nasdaq is having second thoughts," said William O'Brien, chief counsel for BRUT. Nasdaq was delaying the last round of fee increases, he said.

O'Brien argues that, because Nasdaq is in the process of transforming itself from an affiliate of a regulatory firm into a for-profit exchange, the rate increases should be delayed until the transformation is complete. A Nasdaq official said it had to be refiled the third part of the rate increases. He emphasized that, "We have already 9/10th of the loaf."