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That SLK acquisition

RediPlus didn't get much of a mention at the time of the acquisition of Spear Leeds Kellogg by Goldman Sachs. Most of the focus was either on the price, initially $6.5 billion, or on what seemed to be an about-face by the investment bank. SLK was best known as a specialist, the market maker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Goldman had been a prolific investors in its nemesis, the electronic trading platforms, and seemed to regard the specialist model as unsustainable.

Recent events appear to underline that sentiment. The SEC concluded its investigations last month into specialists front-running client orders, with the top five of the seven specialists, including SLK, being told to pay a combined total of $240 million in fines.

What's more, the New York Stock Exchange's new chief executive, John Thain, previously chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs and effectively second in command to CEO Hank Paulson, has spent his first two months in the job lauding the benefits for stock trading of very good advanced information on size, stock movements, clients, and strategies. "We could then go and build our own algorithms and trading strategies behind it to buy and sell.

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