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Tim Quast
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September 30, 2003

Putnam: NYSE Intimidates and Abuses Power

By Gregory Bresiger

Archipelago CEO Jerry Putnam, in recent public comments, said the NYSE has remained on top of the listed business because Dick Grasso was "a tremendous competitor" who used intimidation and monopolistic practices. The NYSE is both an exchange and a regulator with powers that Putnam wants to be separated.

"Dick Grasso was vindictive," said Putnam in comments to CNBC, which owns a stake in Archipelago, owner of ArcaEx. "People were afraid to speak up because of fear over regulatory pressure that the arm of the business could exert over them." (CNBC is selling its stake in Archipelago.)

Putnam said that the Big Board retains a monopoly position over the stocks that it trades. He also argued that, under the current NYSE structure, "it puts them in a position where they could use their regulatory power to intimidate their members into not doing business with us."

Besides the trade through rule, Archipelago wants the ITS system reformed by the regulators. An improved ITS system, Putnam says, would also promote more competition.

Putnam complained that the NYSE has had a virtual veto power over many of these needed reforms. "They use it. We scream about it," Putnam said in the interview. Owing to the current controversies over the NYSE, Putnam said there is now a better chance that basic reforms will happen.