When I began my career in the 1970s, the brokerage industry was idea driven. Firms and their stockbrokers attempted to attract clients based on better research and smarter stock and bond ideas. I started at E.F. Hutton, and our famous marketing slogan was: "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen." The message was that we had unique and superior ideas. That culture was shared by many firms of that era.

Most of my colleagues were veterans who liked to talk about the good old days- before negotiated commissions. They often felt connected to the firm because their clients' portfolios were generated by their firm's specific ideas. If you moved, you and your clients had to feel confident that the new firm would offer research coverage on existing positions. Furthermore, transitional compensation packages were minimal, so changing firms often seemed more trouble than it was worth.

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