Chicago Board of Trade Proposes Split

Fearing a growing competitive threat from electronic trading systems, the Chicago Board of Trade voted yesterday to split the 150 year old exchange in two companies -- one that operates as a "traditional" exchange and one that operates exclusively as an electronic exchange.

Both companies would provide a medium for the consumer to operate in a way that they are most comfortable.

Open floor trading would continue in the traditional exhange, and would be run by a privately held for-profit corporation.

The electronic trading company would be spun off into a publicly held company, and would compete directly with the open floor exchange, along with other electronic trading exchanges.

The proposed split must be ratified by two-thirds of the 3,600 member exchange, and already has sparked concern over who runs the companies, and how they will compete with each other.

Board Chairman David Brennan has outlined the specifics of the restructured organization in a letter to the membership.

Change is inevitable. The Board of Trade is trying to come to grips with that, and is trying to integrate the wave of electronic trading into a 150 year old system that is deeply entrenched in its own ways of doing things.

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