As expected, the National Assn. of Securities Dealers board on Thursday authorized its staff to step up preparations for converting the Nasdaq Stock Market into a publicly traded company.
"We need to change our governance to make decisions more quickly in an increasingly competitive environment that values speed," NASD Chairman Frank Zarb said.
While the board didn't give final approval to going public, it moved the effort along significantly. It appointed a committee headed by board member Robert Glauber, a former Treasury undersecretary, to begin crafting formulas for selling stock in Nasdaq first to member brokerages and to listed companies, Zarb said.
A public stock offering could follow, probably in 2000.
On Thursday, the NASD also approved a plan to seek partnerships with large technology firms to help the market "move more quickly to a low-cost, Internet-based technology platform," the organization said.
In another move that demonstrates the impact of upstart trading networks that have stolen Nasdaq volume, the NASD forwarded to the Securities and Exchange Commission a proposal to require Nasdaq dealers to display a list of the most competitive stock quotes from dealers and rival electronic trading networks.
"This would show the depth of the market for a particular stock, so you'd get vastly better execution and a more efficient and transparent marketplace," NASD President Rick Ketchum said.