CHICAGO (B)--Joining the ranks of futures commission merchants that have launched Websites allowing retail customers access to derivatives trading, Cargill Investor Services recently announced it had launched efutures.com with First Capitol Ag Inc., an independent introducing broker.

The site has been up and running since October, said Bernie Dan, CIS president, but the Chicago-based subsidiary of Cargill waited to formally announce the site at the annual Futures Industry Association's Futures and Options Expo held here this week.

CIS, which has a concentration of institutional customers, has an equity stake in the project. Customers of First Capitol Ag will now have access to products listed at the major U.S. derivatives exchanges via the Website. The trades will be cleared through CIS.

The site also offers real-time quotes and other trading tools.

First Capitol Ag focuses on agriculture producer clients with 400 to 20,000 acres who want to use the markets to hedge their risk as well as retail customers, said John Streich, president and CEO of efutures.com.

CIS has about $83 million in adjusted net capital as of the end of the third quarter this year, according to public documents listed at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulator of the futures industry.

At a press conference held to formally introduce the site this week, Dan said he did not think the institutional customers of CIS would start using efutures.com to trade. However, in a statement he said the site did open the door to the growing retail industry.

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