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For Immediate Release
March 13, 2001

For more information contact:
Larry Dyekman
(312) 781-1372
ldyekman@nfa.futures.org or
Jennifer Bucko
(312) 781-1373
jbucko@nfa.futures.org

National Futures Association provides regulatory services for Merchants' Exchange

March 13, Chicago - As the world of e-commerce continues to expand and evolve, some emerging electronic exchanges are looking to reduce start-up costs and meet their regulatory requirements efficiently by outsourcing their regulatory services to established self-regulatory organizations. One recent example of this type of partnership is the agreement reached by National Futures Association and the Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis LLC (Merchants' Exchange).

In May 2000, NFA entered into an agreement with the Merchants' Exchange to provide regulatory services for the exchange. After being granted designated contract market status from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in July 2000, Merchants' Exchange went live on December 8, 2000.

Since its launch, Merchants' Exchange and NFA have been using state-of-the-art technology to ensure market integrity. Merchants' Exchange currently trades deliverable Illinois Waterway and St. Louis Harbor barge freight futures contracts using its electronic trading system.

NFA performs trade practice and market surveillance activities for the exchange as well as other regulatory services which include conducting background checks, investigating and litigating any disciplinary matters that may arise, performing auditing and financial surveillance functions as the CFTC requires and resolving disputes that may arise.

"We are excited to see that Merchants' Exchange is operating and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they add products and services," says Yvonne Downs, NFA Senior Vice President of Compliance.

"The Merchants' Exchange has embarked upon a new era of trading with our fully electronic trading system offering complete redundancy and transparency," said Robert J. Stewart, Merchants' Exchange president.

"The Merchants' Exchange, while historically significant as the oldest exchange in the United States, is now also a leader in providing a next-generation, secure and trader-friendly environment. The oversight and working agreement with NFA is a significant foundation on which we operate."

NFA is a congressionally authorized self-regulatory organization for the U.S. futures industry.

About Merchants' Exchange

The Merchants' Exchange is an all-electronic futures market. The exchange is fully demutualized and is designated as a Designated Contract Market by CFTC. Trading on the Merchants' Exchange provides complete price transparency and system redundancy.

Now as traders worldwide move from traditional exchange floors to screen platforms, the Merchants' Exchange is ideally positioned to capture and support growing volumes of business. For more information about the Merchants' Exchange call 1-800-270-1135 or visit http://www.merchants-exchange.com.

NFA is the premier independent provider of efficient and innovative regulatory programs that safeguard the integrity of the derivatives markets.
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