Fimat To Expand Execution & Clearing Services to all U.S. Equities Markets Through Acquisition of PreferredTrade Assets

New York, NY -- May 11, 2005 -- The Fimat Group announced today that it will expand its global range of brokerage services to include the clearing of the entire U.S. listed equities complex, consisting of cash equities, listed equity options and index futures and options, continuing to evolve into a truly global agency broker.

Fimat U.S. subsidiaries and San Francisco-based PreferredTrade, Inc., have signed a definitive agreement under which Fimat intends to acquire certain assets of the equity broker. Fimat Preferred has been set up as the company to house the assets acquired from PreferredTrade and closing is tentatively scheduled during the Summer of 2005. PreferredTrade currently specializes in direct-access electronic trade services for its customers.

"As a result of the proposed acquisition, Fimat will extend its memberships to include all of the major US equity markets. This move will complement our existing service offerings and becomes a critical component toward meeting our goal of responding to client needs for access to financial products across a full spectrum of asset classes," said Patrice Blanc, Chairman and CEO of Fimat Group. "The U.S. equities market continues to be the most robust and dynamic in the world, and now Fimat will give our institutional clients the ability to fully utilize these products when implementing the most complex investment strategies."

"The addition of a U.S. equities clearing capability is an integral factor in our global prime brokerage offering and further positions Fimat for the continued convergence of cash and derivatives markets," said Cynthia Zeltwanger, President and CEO of Fimat USA. "The institutional trading community in the U.S. and abroad will ultimately benefit from the added clearing, technological and industry expertise that this deal brings into play. We hope to leverage our international exchange-traded futures and securities network to provide clients a unique opportunity to carry and finance their worldwide financial positions at one location."

Upon closing, Douglas Engmann, CEO of PreferredTrade, will be appointed CEO of Fimat Preferred, Managing Director for Equities, Fimat North America. He previously held the role of Managing Director, ABN AMRO Clearing & Execution Services. He was also both Acting Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Pacific Exchange (PCX). C. Mark Bold, COO of PreferredTrade and previous President and COO of ABN AMRO Sage Corporation, will be named COO of Fimat Preferred, upon closing. He was also Executive Vice President of Sage Clearing Limited Partnership.

Engmann said: "We are excited to continue our history of innovation in the options and equities industry and look forward to joining Fimat."

The new structure will enable a harmonious integration with the current Fimat USA equity business which was successfully launched in April 2002 to provide listed equities option business. Headed by Vaughan Tredwell, Managing Director-Fimat USA’s Equity Product Group, and Tony Fareed, Executive Vice-President-Financial Products & Services, Fimat USA equity team began offering OTC equity derivatives in July 2004 and cash equities in the third quarter of 2004.

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