|Actor John Houseman became synonymous with Smith Barney for the famous tag line, "We make money the old fashioned way. We earn it."|
Morgan Stanley is in the midst of acquiring the retail brokerage giant from Citigroup (C). The white-shoe investment banking firm is therefore making a big bet on the profitability of small-fry investors -- in stark comparison to the institutional and corporate clients on which it has built a solid reputation over the past 75 years.
It's an ironic twist in the long history of Morgan Stanley, which itself was once part of J.P. Morgan. Those franchises split in 1935, due to a post-Depression rule that didn't allow commercial banking and investment banking to exist under the same roof.
Fast forward to 2011: A new era of tighter regulation that promises, once again, to crimp big bank profits and dramatically alter the landscape of the financial sector. In a
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