Business: Fatter Fees?

Ballots went out to the 1,346 members of the New York Stock Exchange last week to vote on whether the brokers should boost commissions an average 13%, the second hike in four years. The plan ran into immediate opposition from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, biggest brokerage house. The proposed increase, said Merrill Lynch's Managing Partner Michael McCarthy, discriminates against the small investor, who will pay 30% more on a $500 transaction. He argued that most brokers are getting an adequate return despite higher operating costs, since commission earnings of Wall Street houses after partners' compensation and expenses run an...

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