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Eurex partners with Trading Technologies for connectivity into new U.S. futures exchange; Bear Stearns chooses Aegis Software for FIX testing; Merrill goes live with new Thomson AutEx network.

Swiss-German futures exchange Eurex signed a software deal with Chicago-based Trading Technologies (TT) that will provide U.S. Treasury-bond futures traders with direct access to the new Eurex US futures exchange. The deal is expected to increase connectivity and access to Eurex's new U.S. exchange. TT claims it is used by more than 50 percent of the combined electronic volume of the four largest derivatives exchanges worldwide. More importantly, it is used by U.S. traders active in U.S. Treasury-bond futures traded at the Chicago Board of Trade, which Eurex is launching a competing contract against. Through the partnership, Eurex and TT will offer mutual customers access to Eurex US through the TT front-end software X_Trader for 24 months at no extra charge. In addition, TT customers will receive a free upgrade from TT's X_Trader to the premium trading software X_Trader Pro for three months. Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. has chosen Aegis Software's FIX-testing solutions. Bear is using Exchange Simulator and Client Simulator for testing and verification of trading systems and VWAP engines that are used in the brokerage firm's Global FIX Connectivity Group. Exchange Simulator allows developers, quality-assurance engineers and production-support departments to verify trading systems against simulations of popular exchanges and ECNs; including NYSE DOT, NYSE FIX, Archipelago, Island, Instinet and ISE. The Client Simulator mimics FIX connections coming into customer environments, serving as an interface for testing transactions as a client.

Merrill Lynch became the first international financial institution to send indications of interest (IOIs) and advertised trades via the new Thomson AutEx network using a signal connection with the FIX protocol. This begins the migration of all Thomson clients from the current AutEx IOI and AutEx TradeRoute systems to a global FIX-based system that integrates IOIs, advertised trades, order routing and allocation messaging. Merrill now has access to institutions throughout the world using the new AutEx FIX-based network. According to Thomson, the service handles nearly one million indications daily, enabling more than 300 global brokers to advertise inventory to more than 500 institutions.

Archipelago Holdings, LLC, which owns and operates The Archipelago Stock Exchange (ArcaEx), plans to conduct an IPO next year of its equity securities. It expects to file a registration statement with the SEC over the next several months, and the sale of stock is expected to occur during 2004. The offering will be made by means of a prospectus. ArcaEx is the nation's first totally open all-electronic stock exchange to trade in all NYSE, Nasdaq, Amex and Pacific Exchange securities. News of the IPO falls on the heels of General Atlantic Partners, a private-equity firm, planning to take a $125 million minority position in Archipelago, as announced in November.

UNX, an institutional agency brokerage providing advanced electronic-trading solutions, unveiled a real-time, online commission-management system. With UNX Payment Services, clients can electronically direct trades and commissions and manage their soft-dollar accounts from their desktops. As a broker-neutral agent, UNX offers commission repatriation, commission recapture, and introducing broker arrangements, as well as soft-dollar programs. The payment service is also available through UNX's agency trade desk at no additional cost.

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