MERRILL LYNCH ENTERS INTO STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH PORTWARE

New York – 14 September 2006

Leading Brokerage to Offer Enhanced Trading Solutions

Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) and Portware LLC, a leading independent provider of execution and order management technology, announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership that will enable Merrill Lynch to develop a customized trading platform for institutional clients, powered by Portware’s industry-leading trading technology.

The partnership allows Merrill Lynch to provide full hosting and customer support for its enhanced version of the Portware trading system, and enables clients to access the full suite of Merrill Lynch’s proprietary data and analytics, algorithmic platform, and other services through a broker-neutral interface. In addition, Merrill Lynch clients will be provided with complete access to Portware’s powerful suite of trading solutions.

“Our clients want rich data, sophisticated analytics, seamless technology, and expert sales support,” said Mike Stewart, head of Global Cash Equity Trading at Merrill Lynch. “This partnership will enable us to combine the strengths of both firms to create a flexible, broker-neutral offering which meets the evolving needs of our clients.”

“We are very excited about this partnership” said Eric Goldberg, CEO at Portware. “A strategic partnership with one of the world’s largest financial services firms cements Portware’s position as a provider of the most versatile trading platforms.”

Portware’s flexible, open architecture lends itself toward rapid deployment; another reason Merrill Lynch selected the software vendor as a partner. Merrill Lynch expects to begin deploying this offering to clients in the fourth quarter of this year.

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