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ABN AMRO to sell US Professional Brokerage unit to Merrill Lynch

ABN AMRO has agreed to sell its US-based Professional Brokerage business to Merrill Lynch & Co. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Under the agreement Merrill Lynch will acquire the four divisions of ABN AMRO's Professional Brokerage business, which provides securities clearing, trade execution and operational support services to participants in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />US options and securities markets.

Under the transaction, which is expected to close by June, Merrill will absorb technology for handling order flow from institutional investors such as hedge funds, as well as a back-office clearing operations.

ABN AMRO stated:  "This decision has been taken as part of our strategy to focus increased resources on a more limited range of core activities within Wholesale Clients (WCS) and to ensure our product offering is fully aligned with our client led model".

"The sale or restructuring of this business will involve associated costs. These costs will be offset by the gains from the sale of the Bank's US Prime Brokerage business, therefore the sale or restructuring is expected to have no impact on the group for 2003."

The Professional Brokerage business operates out of San Francisco, Chicago and New York.


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