Brokers are continuing to rush for the exits of large brokerage firms to join independent firms, putting as much as $5 trillion in Americans’ retirement savings in play and prompting brokerage giants such as Schwab, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade to offer technological and business enticements.

The brokers fault the financial crisis as the main reason for their move, noting that if such a seeming behemoth as Lehman Brothers could collapse in a mere weekend’s time, there no longer is any real advantage to being at a large broker. On top of that, having been barraged with news of greedy bankers, many investors now view large brokerages unfavorably.

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