Six Firms Launch New Equities Alternative Trading System

New York - 27 September 2006

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS Fund Consortium to Increase Competition for Block Trading

Six brokerage firms announced today that they have agreed to form Block Interest Discovery Service (“BIDS”), an alternative trading system (“ATS”) designed to increase competition and provide clients with a unique alternative liquidity source in the block trading market. Terms are not being disclosed.

BIDS allows qualified market participants to complete sizable block trades through continuous order matching as well as trade negotiation. Because of its innovative approach to market structure and information disclosure, BIDS resolves the classic paradox of the block trader -- the need to find legitimate trading counterparties without prematurely revealing trading intentions. Information about trading intentions is only revealed when both parties present a legitimate opportunity to trade with each other. Furthermore, orders and executions remain anonymous; the identity of one counterparty is never revealed to the other counterparty.

The concept and technology for BIDS was developed by Alberta Market Solutions, Ltd, a firm specializing in capital markets infrastructure, market design and technology. Alberta Market Solutions will provide ongoing support to BIDS.

“Our discussions with senior traders at different buy-side firms have been consistent – they look forward to the sell-side taking the lead to create a new low-cost industry utility that integrates disparate liquidity,” said Paul Hanson, a Director at Alberta Market Solutions. “They believe this platform will provide a level playing field for market participants.”

BIDS is accessible to all qualifying broker-dealers and their institutional clients, subject to basic credit and regulatory considerations. Use of BIDS as a block trading service will not be exclusive or subject to volume commitment and each participant may continue to use any ATS, ECN or exchange service that supports the trading needs of its customer base

BIDS expects to announce a CEO appointment in the next few weeks and, subject to regulatory approval, expects to commence trading in early 2007.

Become a bobsguide member to access the following

1. Unrestricted access to bobsguide
2. Send a proposal request
3. Insights delivered daily to your inbox
4. Career development