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January 1, 2003

Tough New Year at Instinet

By Staff Reports

Instinet began this year as a much leaner organization as a result of some 300 job cuts. Instinet, which merged with the Island ECN last year, has eliminated some 17 percent of the merged business. Instinet's chief executive, who had been on a worldwide tour of the company, said the layoffs are part of a plan to cut $100 million of costs over the next year.

"These cost reductions are part of a previously announced plan to eliminate redundant positions within the Instinet-Island combination, to reduce overhead to reflect current market conditions and to bring greater efficiency to the company as a whole," Instinet CEO Ed Nicoll said.

Instinet was expected to take a $58 million charge in the fourth quarter. Why the problems? Nicoll said it was in part because of difficult market conditions, including decimalization and heightened competition. He said all ECNs are facing a more difficult time because Nasdaq's launch of SuperMontage has cut into their business.

Instinet represents a huge pool of liquidity. It has refused to use SuperMontage, the only significant ECN to do so.