It was reported last week that Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers, and Salomon Smith Barney are launching a new company that plans to build an Internet-accessible, electronic trading platform for mortgages and asset-backed securities.

The firms said their objective is to provide a more efficient marketplace for investors and operating cost savings for the industry.

The new company plans to offer dealer subscribers an electronic network as an alternative to telephone-based systems in its first stage of operations. The firms project initial trades in mortgage securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

The platform will be open to dealers that meet customary industry credit standards, the firms said.

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