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American Century: Getting jazzy in KC

Revamping the US equities market

Wit Capital: A potent brew

Optimark: Instant liquidity

unfortunate visit
to Kansas city

Kansas City might not be on your hit-list of places to find technological innovation. In the centre of the US mid-west, the state capital is better known as a centre for the livestock and meat-packing industry. It is also the latest US state to allow creationists to undermine the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution by relegating it to being an optional extra in school science curricula. But it is here that one of the most technologically aggressive asset-management companies is based, and the monkeys it is putting on trial are the investment banks and brokers.

American Century has $88 billion under management in mutual and institutional funds and has been % owned by JP Morgan since 1997. While other asset managers have made investments (Schwab, DLJdirect and Fidelity recently announced a link up with Reditrade, an ECN set up by NYSE specialist firm Spear Leeds & Kellog, for example) none has made such broad moves nor taken such a vocal stance.