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September 22, 2005

NYSE Floor Broker Takes Measured View on Hybrid

By Gregory Bresiger

An NYSE floor brokerage firm, Rosenblatt Securities, criticized some aspects of the latest hybrid plan, but also said that the advantages specialists receive are inherent in the nature of the New York Stock Exchange.

"We generally endorse the elements of the hybrid that merely try to recreate the ability of specialists and floor brokers to continue to perform their current functions in an auto-ex world," said Joe Gawronski, chief operating officer of Rosenblatt.

"But we oppose increasing informational advantages because such changes risk harming the public. They could discourage limit orders and destroy the delicate balance that makes the auction work well as it exists today and allows its benefits to be shared by all market participants, instead of just offering advantages to certain ones," Gawronski added.

Gawronski also said that criticism of the fifth amendment as giving specialists unprecedented privileges is wrong. These critics, he said, don't understand the history of the NYSE.

"To counterbalance the obligations they've taken on, specialists have always had certain advantages," he said.