Penson Worldwide plans Australian unit

Source: Penson Worldwide

Penson Worldwide (NASDAQ: PNSN), a leading provider of execution, clearing, settlement, custody and technology products and services to the global financial services industry, announced today plans to launch Penson Financial Services Australia Pty Ltd. (PFSA).

PFSA will provide Australian brokerage firms with independent clearing and settlement of Australian financial products and access to trading on global financial markets. The Sydney-based company is scheduled to commence operations for customers during the second half of 2009, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals.

Philip A. Pendergraft, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Penson Worldwide, said this initiative is in response to substantial interest from Australian brokers for independent third-party clearing services, as well as rising capital requirements for clearing imposed by Australian regulators.

"Penson is uniquely positioned to enter the Australian market with our independent model, strong capital position and without the conflicts affecting many other clearers," Mr. Pendergraft said. "We're now the third largest clearing provider in the United States, the number two clearing provider in the United Kingdom, and the largest independent clearing provider in Canada."

Industry veteran Craig Mason has been appointed Managing Director and CEO of PFSA. With more than twenty years experience in Australian and Asian markets, Mason was most recently with UBS Securities Australia, where he served as Executive Director responsible for the development of third-party execution and clearing services. Prior to UBS, Mason spent nearly 10 years with Merrill Lynch where his responsibilities included management, control and oversight of its Pacific Rim prime brokerage and third-party clearing business. While at Merrill Lynch, Mason was also responsible for establishing Berndale Securities, Merrill Lynch's third party clearing business, and held the position of Managing Director of that business. "As a result of events in 2008, Australian brokers, like their U.S. counterparts, are increasingly interested in an independent clearing solution," Mr. Mason said. "Historically, there has been limited choice in Australia. Penson's arrival providesides a compelling alternative to Australian brokers, bringing major benefits to the Australian financial community as a whole."

"Penson's move into Australia is the next logical step in our successful track record of global expansion," said Daniel P. Son, President and Co-Founder of Penson Worldwide. "What began as a startup in 1995 has grown from nine employees and three correspondents to more than 1,000 employees and more than 300 correspondents and introducing brokers operating on four continents in a truly global market. We warmly welcome Craig Mason and the wealth of expertise he brings to the Company and region."

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