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Big Board, Big Cuts

The NYSE swings the ax again, firing 520.

New York Stock Exchange


chief John A. Thain is swinging the ax once more.

The Big Board said Wednesday it would slash 520 jobs, or about 18% of its workforce. The exchange has now cut its workforce by a third in 18 months.

The latest cuts "reflect ongoing initiatives to cut costs and improve efficiencies, eliminate duplicate services, and leverage synergies" from its merger with Archipelago in March, NYSE says. The cutback will cull 400 employees and 120 full-time consultants from the NYSE, NYSE Arca and Securities Industry Automation.

The Big Board has been trying to cut $200 million in costs. The exchange said during its recent third-quarter earnings call that it was well on its way to reaching $100 million in cost savings by the end of the year.

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Last week the exchange said it was closing one of its five trading rooms over the next 18 months because of "technology-driven productivity gains." The change will affect the trade specialist firm Bear Wagner Specialists and 33 floor brokerage firms that are housed at an NYSE leased-facility at 30 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan.

The NYSE has been moving to streamline its operations as incorporates electronic trading into its business mix in order to compete better with fully electronic stock exchanges like the



. Last month, the exchange rolled out its hybrid market -- which combines electronic trading with auction-style floor trading. Observers had been predicting that NYSE's decision to roll out its hybrid market would eat into the profit margins of its specialists.

A NYSE spokesman declined to comment on whether there would be further firings.

Shares fell 53 cents to $81.50 on Wednesday.