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Orion Securities Selects Penson as Canadian Securities Services Provider

Independent Clearing Firm, Penson, Wins another New Mandate over Bank-Owned Clearing Firms

Toronto, 22 September 2004 – Penson Worldwide, a leading provider of execution, clearing, custody and settlement services for the global securities markets, and the largest independent clearing firm in Canada, today announced its introducing/carrying broker agreement with Orion Securities Inc., one of Canada’s leading independent investment dealers. Since the agreement was signed in Q2 2004, Penson has successfully been providing clearing, settlement, custody, bookkeeping and administration for Orion’s Canadian-wide accounts. The move further establishes Penson as a leading provider within the Canadian institutional market place.

Orion’s decision to change outsourced suppliers for its back office processing activities was made on the back of a number of interviews with alternative clearing firms. Orion selected Penson because of its stellar client service record, quality of in-house professionals and the company’s highly competitive prices. The contract with Penson will provide Orion and its clients with significant value-add benefits beyond the traditional clearing function, including competitive Forex rates, advanced management/reporting business tools and technical assistance on several special projects.

Chris Salapoutis, Chief Operating Officer, Orion Securities, comments: "At Orion, we strive to meet our customers’ highest standards and get the job done in an efficient and timely manner. In Penson, we have found a partner that shares our exacting levels of professionalism and integrity, and who has a strong client services mentality with a ‘can-do’ attitude. Sealing the deal, Penson was able to offer us some of the best prices in the industry."

Prior to appointing Penson, Orion also considered the self-clearing option. However, Orion realised that it can reap significant savings and achieve cost efficiencies by outsourcing its back-office services, thus releasing funds for infrastructure upgrade and other operating needs.

Rick Ness, President, Penson Financial Services, Canada, comments: "As one of Canada’s leading independent firms serving the institutional marketplace, Orion has the critical mass to perform its back office processing functions internally. Penson’s flexible service, combined with our ability to convert Orion quickly, cost effectively and with a quality service unrivalled in the industry, was instrumental in Orion’s final decision."

Salapoutis adds: "Penson’s industry knowledge, technical expertise, entrepreneurial mindset and sound work ethics promise to help us continue to deliver the high level service our clients require. By outsourcing these services to Penson, Orion will be able to retain its focus on core competencies and respond to industry changes quickly and efficiently."

Planning for Orion’s conversion to Penson started in January of this year, with a live-date mid 04. Penson, which has an outstanding track record of supporting clients through the conversion process, seconded a full-time employee to the Orion offices for several months, and implemented the actual conversion over two weekends, with 15 staff running the process.