By choice or circumstance, smaller brokerage firms like Stifel Financial (SF) and SWS Group (SWS) have maintained their independence. More importantly for investors, they have also outperformed the banking giants.
These regionals may not have as much recognition as the mammoth securities firms -- Stifel's market cap is $962 million, SWS's market cap is $488 million -- but they won't be receiving as many unwanted headlines either.
Like the big guys, regionals provide a range of services including financial advice, banking, asset management and fixed income and equity products. Of course regionals can't ignore the ravages of the recession, because their customers are just as frightened as are customers of the financial supermarkets.
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