LaBranche Will Rely Less on Floor Traders

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The increasing popularity of electronic trading could force market-maker LaBranche & Co. to lay off more than of its 160 floor traders. The company has already pared its floor trading staff from 325 in 2001.

In an interview with Reuters, the firm's chief executive, Michael LaBranche, implied the company can use layoffs, debt buybacks and new services for trading a wider array of products to remake itself for the hybrid market. He hopes the firm will be able to boost revenues through new trading services and riding rising volumes and price fluctuations.

LaBranche said electronic trading could boost trading volume enough for revenues and profits to rise because "Increased access should increase volumes, and volume is the most important thing."

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