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April 1, 2003

Hurting? Nasdaq Wants Exchange Status

By Gregory Bresiger

Nasdaq's application for exchange status is still on hold. It's now about three years old and its inability to act as an exchange is hurting it.

That's according to Edward Knight, Nasdaq general counsel, who notes that, legally, it remains a part of the National Association of Securities Dealers until the application is finally approved.

Formal Application

"It is a very cumbersome situation for us," Knight told Traders Magazine. "Every decision requires the approval of two boards even before it gets to the SEC," he added. The formal application process began in March 2000. And, for several years, Nasdaq has been functioning as a de facto, but not a de jure exchange.

Nasdaq officials privately say they understand that - because of leadership changes at the SEC, the tragic events of 9/11 and the widespread corporate scandals - the application has been delayed.

However, pointing to statements by the new chairman and commissioners of the SEC, Nasdaq officials expect that the application will be finally approved in the next few months.

An SEC spokesman said the application is under review.