Bridge over ocean
1 March 1996 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 52, Issue 2

Why Do We Need Stock Brokers?

  1. David P. Brown

The current and future states of the stock-brokerage industry are affected by the SEC's recent proposal for direct registration and by recent innovations in technology. Direct registration allows for book-entry shares registered in the names of corporate issuers as an alternative to the current practice of street-name registration. Enactment of this proposal will shorten the time required for transfer of book-entry shares between street names or from directly registered form to street-name form. This change, in turn, will lead to the unbundling of many of the services brokers now provide. Furthermore, brokers perform a number of functions that appear to be obsolete, given these innovations. The pressure on brokerage commission rates that initially began in the United States during the 1970s is likely to continue. In the extreme, stock exchanges could be organized to accommodate retail customers in the total absence of brokerage services.

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