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May 25, 2007

RBC Gains Direct Market Access with Carlin Purchase

By Peter Chapman

RBC Capital Markets' recent acquisition of Carlin Financial Group gives the mid-tier institutional brokerage direct market access technology, putting it on a par with its larger rivals.

The system known as CarlinAccel is used by Carlin's predominantly hedge fund clients to trade about 35 million shares per day, Carlin execs say. CarlinAccel is mostly used to trade equities and has modules for pairs, dollar-neutral and basket trading.

RBC, a division of Toronto's Royal Bank of Canada, will invest in the product to expand its utility to RBC's existing customers for trading equities and other asset classes, RBC says. The firm will create a new division called RBC Carlin. It will be run by Carlin chief executive Jeremy Frommer, a 17-year industry veteran.

Frommer joined Carlin when it bought NextGen Trading, a developer of merger arbitrage software. Previously, Frommer was employed by the Royal Bank of Canada as director of merger arbitrage and event-driven trading. The RBC-Carlin deal mirrors those of U.S. investment banks such as Citigroup, which bought Lava Trading, Lehman Brothers (Townsend Analytics) and JP Morgan (Neovest).