This excerpt taken from the NDAQ 10-K filed Mar 14, 2005.
Price competition has impacted and could continue to impact our business.
The securities trading industry is characterized by intense price competition and we have determined that it is in our best interest to gain price leadership in transaction and market data fees. We have recently implemented changes to our pricing designed to make us more attractive to high-volume customers. However, to date, our trading volume has not increased to compensate for the reduction in revenues caused by these price decreases. Should our trading volume not increase in the future, we will continue to suffer from a decline in revenues as a result of our new reduced prices, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Additionally, if any competitor sought to increase its market share by further reducing its transaction fees, offering higher liquidity payments or other incentives, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our revenues derived from market data fees are also subject to price competition. We currently rebate to our customers 50% of the market data fees that we receive for trading in exchange-listed securities, and also have a program to share a portion of revenues associated with the trading of Nasdaq-listed securities, including a portion of Nasdaq Market Services Subscriptions revenues. Many of our competitors offer their customers similar rebates. Price competition with respect to market data rebates or our program relating to sharing revenues associated with trading Nasdaq-listed securities could attract trading volume away from us, leading to loss of market share and decreased revenues.
Finally, pursuant to our aggressive pricing strategy, although we price many of our products and services at prices that are competitive with the prices charged by our competitors for similar products and services, our overall operating costs are currently significantly higher than those of our competitors which puts us at a disadvantage. If we are unable to reduce our cost structure to a point where it is comparable to that of our competitors, then we may be unable to continue to offer our products and services at competitive prices and consequently our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected.