NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The digital barbarians are rattling the gate.
With Goldman Sachs (GC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) charging probably $150 million in fees to lower the IPO drawbridge for a young, cash-starved CEO named Mark Zuckerberg, it almost feels like the invulnerable Wall Street fortress of yesteryear, doesn't it?
But be honest, it's just all like the guards at Buckingham Palace -- a nice little show for the tourists.
The fact is, the digital age has little room for Wall Street. BlackRock (BLK), probably the world's largest money manager, summarily dumped the supposed invulnerable trading czar, Goldman Sachs, to begin dealing on its own. And never mind New York Stock Exchange digital alternatives such as The BATS Exchange or Direct Edge. So-called dark pools -- which are nothing more than a geek who matches buyers and sellers with a PC under his desk -- are where the real growth in finance is. Volume for these trading riffs on Napster hit an all-time high this year, according to Rosenblatt Securities, which tracks the dark trend of dark pools.Facebook's Pop and How To Play It >> We all know what's happening. The same commoditizing forces of information overload that pulverized the publishing, product retail and porn industries are bringing the same razor-thin margins and indefensible markets to financial services. Even as Wall Street marches its last line dance of greed over Facebook, the hungry hordes taking financial service apart will not be denied. Here are my picks of three digital barbarians with the sharpest teeth: