NYSE members approve merger

"The very positive response is a reflection of the strategic rationale of the deal and the positive impact it's had on seats over the course of the year," said John Thain, chief executive at the 'Big Board', at a press event soon after the vote.

The NYSE Group's strategic focus will be not only to integrate the management teams and hit revenue and expense reduction targets for 2006, but also to compete globally, specifically with Euronext.Liffe and Deutsche Borse, according to Thain.

When I look at them they have cash, options, futures, derivatives, and fixed-income instruments. They also have a clearing and custody business. We need to make sure the US is competitive on that scale with that breadth of products," said Thain, adding that more consolidation will be the primary way to achieve those objectives.

Thain made it clear there were no further obstacles to closing the deal by the third week of January 2006. The tie-up between the 213 year-old open-outcry exchange and the 10 year-old electronic exchange had caused dissent among some members, with a class action lawsuit resolved only last month.

The merger has also been hotly debated in the broker and specialist trading community. However, Thain believes the majority of brokers support the merger and only a small number remain who "just don't get it", he said.

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