The business model for independent brokerage firms is under threat, calling into question the livelihood of over 178,000 registered representatives.

Currently independent brokerage firms pay reps on an independent contractor basis, allowing them the independence of working for themselves. But legislation that was introduced to the House in late July by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) and to the Senate in December by Sen. John Kerry could lead to high costs and extra hassle for independent broker-dealers.

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