Business: Don't Buy Us

Brokers unsell themselves

The demands that honesty places on stockbrokers can be excruciating. Over the past decade or so, 15 securities firms have made their own shares available for public purchase. They are forbidden by the New York Stock Exchange to solicit orders for their own stocks, and professional courtesy long kept them from commenting on the shares of competitors But now some brokers are taking a hard look at their business—and warning clients to stay away.

Paine Webber, the fourth largest publicly traded brokerage firm in terms of revenue in 1976, has just issued a review of the 15 securities-firm shares. It...

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