Wall Street: Buying a Share of the Broker

WALL STREET A young and fast-rising brokerage house, in a hurry to expand even faster, is forcing the New York Stock Exchange to resolve what has long been a Wall Street dispute. Should brokerage firms be allowed to sell their own stock to the public, thereby letting the ordinary investor in on Wall Street's enormously profitable business?

The exchange's constitution effectively forbids this by requiring that every stockholder in a member firm be approved by the Big Board's governors. Managers of some of the largest brokerage houses, notably Merrill Lynch, have yearned to go public in order to raise capital,...

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