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Saving The Little Guy

Traders Magazine, November 2004

John A. Byrne

The institutional investor needs the same sort of regulatory protection as the Little Guy. In a perfect world, both sides of the financial markets would work it all out. But it is an imperfect world and it is impossible to fix all the imperfections of human nature. Morality on Wall Street, therefore, must be regulated. Unfortunately, the Little Guy seems to be getting too much of the attention. Don't get me wrong: The little guys, especially the poor and the politically weak, deserve a preferential option. However, the scales have now been tipped too far in the financial markets. The institutional investor - and the huge and sometimes impersonal brokerage behemoths - are far too often viewed by regulators as the Great Satan. It is a shocking kind of logic. Sure, there are many disturbing signals from these financial giants. But that's a separate matter. In recent weeks, the crisis in U.S. market structure has deepened. It is a crisis because the broker as an agent in the trading markets is disappearing. The agent has been replaced by - get this - these very same brokerage behemoths who understand the meaning of go with the flow.

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