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July 31, 2004

From Citi to Polishing BRASS

By Peter Chapman

Leman: We need to add program trading for brokers. We need to add it so that it can also be deployed to their customers. We are talking to brokers about how their algorithmic trading strategies could be portrayed through our front-end. We are also talking with brokers about how we can help them form their own algorithmic trading strategies. We're going to see how we can work more closely with other SunGard products such as MicroHedge. We're going to see how we can work with its option capabilities. We will be making additional initiatives with parts of BRASS, such as "auto take-out," a parameter driven smart trading box. We are making listed market making enhancements to BRASS. That's in anticipation of market making type firms making markets in listed securities. This is beginning to happen more and more. We want to help them reach hedge funds with certain kinds of products we can help define. And we want to try to enter into key relationships with vendors. We are not going to necessarily build everything ourselves.

Traders: You are losing ground among the top firms. Do you intend to focus exclusively on smaller shops?

Leman: No. My mandate is not to abandon any segment.

Traders: How will you deal with growing competition?

Leman: We intend to meet that competition. We will evolve our approach to servicing customers. We will focus on a program of working with our larger customers so they understand we are intent on solving their problems and coming out with newer thinking. These are things that would motivate them to retain us. We are not going to give up on any particular segment.

Traders: You are losing J.P. Morgan?

Leman: They remain a very valued customer. Our contract with them runs to the end of this year. We're going to service the heck out of them through the end of this year. We told them we are putting in a more dedicated team to pay attention to their needs. We are going to ensure that we include them in some of the more groundbreaking things we are thinking of doing, to see if they want to participate.

Traders: So, you are not writing them off?

Leman: No. Migrating from one OMS to another is no small undertaking, especially for a very large firm. Plus, people always have to have their contingencies. So, we are going to try and close the gap with what they feel are things they would like us to do better and are, perhaps, the reason they chose a Lava as a solution. Since November, we've been going after a number of the things J.P. Morgan is interested in: Whether it is tuning up the system to handle higher levels of volume; a refocus of management talent; reaching out to customers more; adding some of the things we are doing or improving customer service. It's a maturity process. We are going to try and prove to them that they should reconsider by the end of the year.

Traders: What specifically are you doing?