The idea behind SecondMarket Inc.'s plan to revive trading of illiquid assets that have been weighing on bank balance sheets could be summed up with a Woody Allen line: Ninety percent of life is just showing up.

The New York company — which employs former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman William Seidman as a senior adviser — plans to begin auctioning collateralized debt obligations and private-label mortgage-backed securities through its online market this quarter.

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