Wall Street: So Prosperous It Hurts

A sure way to turn stockbrokers into reticent men is to broach the sensitive subject of their profits. Securities dealers owe much of their livelihood to investor confidence built up by public disclosure of corporate earnings. Yet the overwhelming majority of them consider their own net incomes to be nobody else's business. This double standard is well entrenched, wholly legal and—at least from a broker's view point—eminently logical. After all, partly by resisting demands for more such data, Wall Street has so far fended off the Securities and Exchange Commission's four-year-old proposal for lower fees on big-lot stock trading,...

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