Brokers Beware

Software start-up Protegent offers a new way for brokerages to quickly spot bungling--and fraud

The brokerage industry's image just keeps getting worse: when the final count is in, a record 7,500-plus arbitration cases will probably have been filed in 2002 by U.S. investors who feel their money has been mishandled. A new survey by the industry's trade association shows that more than half of investors think a lack of internal controls at securities firms is a "big problem." All of which is great news for a small, privately held company called Protegent, whose software promises to prevent both bungling and perfidy by brokers and to save brokerages both money and embarrassment.

The company, started in...

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