Bob Greifeld, President and CEO of the Nasdaq

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 2, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If you had put money into this market a year ago, right at the October lows of this market, you’d be up about 70 percent. How’s that for a healthy return? Not bad for a market given up for overrun and overbought and overdone. But that was then. What about now? Let’s ask the man who runs that market, I’m talking about Nasdaq and I’m talking to its president and CEO, Bob Greifeld.

Bob, good to have.

BOB GREIFELD, NASDAQ PRES. & CEO (NDAQ): Good afternoon, Neil.

CAVUTO: So, that’s a tough number to imitate again, 70 percent in a year. Of course, well off the high, still 60-plus percent. But what do you think?

GREIFELD: Well, one of the great things about my job is I get to talk to the CEOs of the Nasdaq companies. And really Nasdaq companies represent innovation and entrepreneurship. And they are very optimistic of the opportunities they have going forward.

CAVUTO: Now, technology, of course, rules the roost with your average, so it either makes you or breaks you. For a good while it was breaking you, now it is making you, what is real, what is going on now with the Intels and the Dells or what Sun Microsystems is going through, which is not so good?

GREIFELD: Well, Nasdaq is comprised of 3400 listed companies, really spans all industries. Technology is certainly a big part of it. And I would say across all industries, the Nasdaq listed companies, we are optimistic that we have a good economic recovery under hand.

CAVUTO: We’re also seeing more companies, as you know far better than I, Bob, offering shares now, new companies coming in the market, initial public offerings. And we are seeing more and more in the technology sphere. Now is that frothy, or how would you describe it?

GREIFELD: Interesting, we had an IPO go today, it went very successfully. We have the largest pipeline we’ve had in the last two years. So it’s certainly the IPO backlog is building, but it’s building with discipline. It’s dramatically different than it was two or three years ago.

CAVUTO: So you don’t see the issues that come out the gate and you know, quintuple or go a hundred-fold -- you wouldn’t want to see that, right?

GREIFELD: We don’t want to see it, we will not see it. That is a thing of our past. We have good, solid issues that are coming to market.

CAVUTO: All right. Let’s talk a little bit about dynamics going on in your industry, your big changes going on in the New York Stock Exchange. Do you take a peek at what is happening with those guys?

GREIFELD: Well, I have certainly concentrated on my responsibilities at Nasdaq. We’re concerned in respect of investor confidence. Any problems that happen in New York really reflect back to the investors. We want to concentrate on an open and fair market that really makes investors happy.

CAVUTO: Well, John Reed, the guy you see on the left of your screen with William Donaldson, the SEC chief, saying that he isn’t going to separate the New York Stock Exchange, as some people have said, between the regulatory and a self-run private operation. Is that good or bad?

GREIFELD: I can’t comment on what is right for New York. But I can tell you what is right for Nasdaq. We have separated the regulator from the market center. We like to keep things simple. I can say to the investing public in America that our regulator is separated, we do not have any potential conflict of interest.

CAVUTO: But you also don’t have people. You don’t have people on the floor, you don’t have a floor.


CAVUTO: And a lot of people find it disconcerting. Now maybe, maybe, that is this very problem with the New York Stock Exchange, this whole specialist thing and that’s going to be done away with. What do you think?

GREIFELD: You point out something very interesting. The Nasdaq market places is electronic and fast, we do not have a floor. That’s to our advantage. It also makes it easier to regulate. And I think the easier it is to regulate, the more investors will feel comfortable with the outcome they get.

CAVUTO: But you know, Bob, a lot of people say when everything hits the fan they need someone to talk to, that specialist, that person, sort of handling all of this is sort of like the bank teller at the bank, you sometimes want a bank teller.

GREIFELD: Right. Nasdaq market is electronic, but we have market- makers. We do not have specialists, we do not have monopolists. But we have multiple market-makers who commit capital to support the stock in times of duress.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, there are a lot of people’s pay that is getting scrutinized. I know you probably make a lot more than $149 million that Dick Grasso was making. What do you think is a fair salary for someone of your heft?

GREIFELD: Well, what we do with our compensation plan is to mirror ourselves to the peer groups that we look at. And we.

CAVUTO: Who are your peer groups?

GREIFELD: Our peer groups are companies in the financial services industry of a similar revenue size.

CAVUTO: So not Citigroup.

GREIFELD: Not Citigroup. We look to peer groups of a similar revenue size who do things that we do.

CAVUTO: OK. So it’s not $149 million.

GREIFELD: It is not $149 million, it’s not $189 million, it’s a fair pay for a fair job.

CAVUTO: A few million.

GREIFELD: What’s that?

CAVUTO: A few million.

GREIFELD: Well, one of the interesting things with being a public company is your pay is disclosed. So it was disclosed in "The Wall Street Journal" today. It’s in our quarterly filings.

CAVUTO: I missed it, what was it?

GREIFELD: What’s that?

CAVUTO: I missed it, what was it?

GREIFELD: It’s certainly available on a quarterly basis.

CAVUTO: All right, all right, you’re not going to tell me, but it is not $149 million. All right. Let me ask you, though, about this notion that the reason why they are finding it tough to find someone to replace Dick Grasso is that whoever he or she is, is only going to get a couple of million. What do you make of that?

GREIFELD: I don’t think that is a real issue. I think plenty of people would step forward for that opportunity.

CAVUTO: You are not interested?

GREIFELD: I have the greatest job in the world here at Nasdaq.

CAVUTO: All right. Bob Greifeld, thank you very much, the Nasdaq president and CEO who politely declined to answer my crass questions on how much he makes.

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