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Six Firms Launch New Equities Alternative Trading System

New York, NY – September 27, 2006 – Six brokerage firms announced today that they have agreed to form BIDS Trading, an alternative trading system (ATS) designed to increase competition and provide clients with a unique alternative liquidity source in the block trading market.

BIDS Trading 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 Trading 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 Trading 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 Trading.

“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 Trading is accessible to all qualifying broker-dealers and their institutional clients, subject to basic credit and regulatory considerations. Use of BIDS Trading 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 Trading expects to announce a CEO appointment in the next few weeks and, subject to regulatory approval, expects to commence trading in early 2007.

About Alberta Market Solutions Ltd

Alberta Market Solutions Ltd. has worked with exchanges, clearinghouses, central securities depositories (CSDs), investment banks, and technology partners in more than 30 countries. Each engagement has met the principal objective: applying expertise and technology to solve the challenges of the world’s financial markets.

We provide only senior, proven resources who have demonstrated the ability to deliver solutions and provide expert advice at all points of the transaction chain.

Our goal in all of our projects is to provide low-cost, extensible solutions that give our customers the greatest benefit as early as possible and at the lowest risk.