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January 1, 2002

Traders Wish For Peace and Fee Relief

By Sanford Wexler

The average trader has the same wishes for 2002 as the average American: End international terrorism and prevent a repeat of Sept. 11.

Lower down on the New Year wish list are issues pertinent to how traders earn their daily bread - regulations, ECN access fees, Nasdaq commissions and technology.

John Giesea, president of the Security Traders Association, is looking forward to finally achieving a reduction in Section 31(a) fees.

"We would also like to see a successful implementation of the SuperMontage and the elimination of subpenny trading," he added. "At the end of the year, we [the STA] would like to be able to look back and say that we have had greater impact in dealing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by virtue of its new chairman Harvey Pitt."

A Nasdaq head trader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that he would like to see the National Association of Securities Dealers provide more clarification about the changes sweeping the marketplace.

"As far as commissions on institutional trading goes," he said, "it shouldn't be like the Wild West. We need a referee."

"We need somebody to tell us what's right and what you can do," he added. "Right now, it's whoever has the best system or the cleverest compliance department that seems to survive."