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February 2, 2006

Traders, Lawmakers Back Nasdaq Exchange Plan

By Gregory Bresiger

Besides the acerbic NYSE and Arca comments on the Nasdaq exchange application (See the previous item), most of the dozens of institutions filing letters urged the SEC to approve Nasdaq's national securities exchange application.

For example, the Security Traders Association of New York (STANY), wrote that, "we encourage the Commission to approve Nasdaq's application and we encourage the Commission to approve Nasdaq's filing for Registration as a National Securities Exchange without further delay."

The Security Traders Association (STA) said it supported the application. But it hedged its support by stipulating the separation between NASD and Nasdaq should be clarified.

"We believe that it is critically important that the industry and the public recognize that while NASD may be performing certain regulatory services... it is NASDAQ that is interpreting its own rules and that the NASD is carrying out the regulatory objectives and philosophy of NASDAQ and not the NASD," according to John Giesea, president of the STA.

Dozens of members of the U.S. House and Senate Financial Services committees also filed letters, unconditionally endorsing the revised application.

"Freedom from NASD ownership will allow NASD to focus all its efforts on quality regulation and allow NASDAQ to concentrate on the needs of running the world's largest electronic trading venue," according to a letter signed by some two dozen House members. About a dozen Senate members, in supporting the application, noted that the SEC, earlier this year, reported it "has resolved all of the major issues with Nasdaq."