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ASX Strategic Alliance With Bridge DFS

Date 19/09/2000

Australian Stock Exchange Limited (ASX) announced today that it has agreed to take a 15% stake in Bridge DFS Limited, Australia's leading provider of trading and order management services to professional financial market participants. ASX will purchase the interest in Bridge DFS following its intended IPO and listing in November this year and will be invited to nominate a person to join the board of the newly listed company.

The price will be set at a discount of a minimum of 5% to the price determined by the institutional book build. A higher discount will apply if the final price is set above the top of the indicative price range, with a maximum price for ASX's stake set at $26 million.

One of Bridge DFS' core operations is the provision of the Bridge DFS' IRESS Order System product (IOS), an order routing network currently operating between a high proportion of Australian and New Zealand institutions and institutional brokers. As part of Bridge DFS' IOS service, it is now a significant order portal into the ASX, SFE, NZSE, ASX Derivatives and POSIT markets.

"Our alliance with Bridge DFS fits well with our strategy of increasing the breadth and depth of products and services we provide. To achieve this we are aiming to provide a range of value-added services to our customers across the entire transaction process, in a number of different markets," said Mr Richard Hurnphry, ASX's Managing Director & CEO.

"Bridge DFS is the leading Australian company in order routing and has an excellent track record of customer relationship management for institutional investors, a significant part of the investment community. Our alliance will allow us to pursue a number of opportunities to enhance the products and services we are able to provide to this part of the market," Mr Hurnphry added.

In addition to further development opportunities for order routing, the companies have also agreed to pursue a number of initiatives under an MOU: To work together to deliver ASX's institutional matching market (the BLOX matching service for the automation of large 'block' transactions which are currently primarily negotiated via the telephone) via Bridge DFS' IOS platform; To investigate and assess the possibility of utilising the IOS platform in ASX's program of developing linkages with foreign markets. This is consistent with ASX's plans to advance regional links (e.g ASX's link with Singapore) and Bridge DFS' plans to expand its IOS capability to regional markets; To review the possibility of linking the IOS network with ASX's CHESS network to jointly promote institutional straight through processing services, initially focussing on the introduction of a full electronic trade confirmation service. This could lead to a significant improvement of the level of automation through all stages of the trading to settlement cycle.

"We believe our skills will both reinforce and complement those offered by ASX. By sharing our skills and resources we will be able to enhance product development ability, reduce the time to market for new products and reduce product development risk," said Mr Peter Dunai, Bridge DFS' Managing Director.

"In ASX we have an alliance partner with the track record and vision to enable us to move into significant, new rnarkets, " said Mr Dunai.