LOOSE CHANGE

LOOSE CHANGE

In Transit: Bank Julius Baer moved its operation in New York last month. The bank, which remains at 330 Madison Avenue, moved its offices from the 21st, 28th and 29th floors to the 12th and 13th floors. Noonan, Astley Pierce is also set to pack its bags. Sources say that the money broker is planning to uproot operations and replant in Harborside, New Jersey by the end of the year.

Mike Alex, formerly senior vice president at Jeffries International, has set out to form his own consulting company that will advise banks, brokers, exchanges and investment managers on electronic dealing systems. Alex says the company will officially open in the next few weeks, with offices in London, New York and California.

BIS Banking Systems will supply its Midas ABS banking system to the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Italy's top bank, for installation at its branches in Europe and the Far East. The bank's headquarter in Rome will be the first of six sites to go live. The contract is valued at about £2 million.

Sprintel, a U.K.-based mobile communications company, has introduced InvestSET, a pocket-sized pager supplying U.K. equity, financial futures, foreign exchange rates and other quotes in real time. InvestSET operates anywhere within the Greater London district. The pagers support 12 channels, each typically relating to a single market, and a four line by 20 character alphanumeric display. Prices are supplied by quote vendor ICV and broadcast by Sprintel via a network of 13 radio transmitters.

Intervest Research Services, Inc. is now offering a daily fax service dubbed the Intervest Daily Currency Report. The California-based research firm uses a computerized technical system known as the Z900 System to pick trends. The daily currency service offers views on all the major currencies, cross rates and futures as well as the Swedish krona, Italian lira and French franc. Intervest also includes forecasts for U.S. economic releases and a general market overview.

The Z900 system was originally developed for oil forecasting, but Intervest adapted it for currency forecasting and began offering it last month. President Richard Ulmer says that the company is currently in talks with a large West Coast bank about signing a marketing pact, but no final agreement has been signed. The Intervest Daily Currency Report is available for $2,000 a month. A three week trial period is offered free of charge for customers interested in looking before they leap. Thereafter customers must sign a contract for a minimum of six months.

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange named three firms to act as specialists in the cross rate options contracts. SBC Derivatives Inc. will act as the specialist in the Deutsche mark/yen cross rates options, Mitsui T & B Options Inc. will act as the specialist in the pound/yen option contract and Tague Securities Corp. will act as the specialist in the pound/mark contract. The exchange is still awaiting regulatory approval on all three of its cross rate options contracts.

In other exchange news, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is trying to work out some final kinks in its cross rate futures and options contracts. Sources on the floor of the CME say that the final settlement specifications worried a number of traders at a recent floor meeting. They complained that the current specifications would leave the market too thin and volatile on final settlement day. Although talk surfaced that the exchange might launch the cross rates as early as the first week of May, that date now looks unlikely.

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