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February 2, 2006

Inquiring Traders Ask About Hybrid Committee

By Gregory Bresiger

Buysiders want to know. The New York Stock Exchange is still mulling over the composition of what will be a much watched hybrid advisory committee.

"We'd like to know who will serve on the committee. How many people will be from the buyside?" said one institutional trader who declined to be quoted by name. The NYSE last year agreed to establish the committee after controversial new hybrid plan amendments. Another buysider privately told Traders Magazine that, "We hope this committee won't end up being just a sop to the buyside, a way to protect the interests of specialists."

One buysider warned that, if the specialist algorithm in the hybrid plan turns out to be a way for specialists to step in front of orders, "then we will quickly move to other markets."

Catherine Kinney, president and co-chief operating office of the New York Stock Exchange, recently said the hybrid committee will have "a group of users both on and off the floor who will evaluate the experience in hybrid. They will establish benchmarks and performance measurements. We will try to improve it as we go along," she explained.

The hybrid committee's exact composition is still under review, said an NYSE spokesman last month. However, he affirmed that the committee will contain "sellside, buyside, specialist and floor broker representation." Neither the name nor the chairman of the committee had been recently determined.