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March 1, 2002

Nasdaq Wants To Lower Fees

By Gregory Bresiger

Nasdaq President Richard Ketchum, fending off competition from rivals, says his group wants to keep lowering the cost of fees for its Nasdaq users.

In a shot across the bow of ECNs and others, Ketchum said Nasdaq even wants to push them to look at their own regulations.

"We are looking hard at ways we can align our charges to allow us to compete effectively while continuing to reduce costs to participants," Ketchum said. He added that Nasdaq users should pay less.

"We'll look hard at having an explicit fee for regulation so Nasdaq firms who print their trades [on Nasdaq] will pay less," he added.

Nasdaq, responding to a discount policy rivals introduced for firms that report their trades away from Nasdaq, last month started offering its own rebates. To qualify firms must report 95 percent of their trades on Nasdaq. In another twist, Nasdaq said it would dramatically raise other display fees to firms that print away from Nasdaq but that use Nasdaq to display their quotes.

Nasdaq, in the process of making the transition to exchange status, is feeling the pressures of competition. Nasdaq's great fear: Will its new rivals, without the same regulatory burden, be able to take a significant part of its business? Will Nasdaq, as it reinvents itself, still be able to retain the loyalty of its market maker and ECN customers?