A number of large institutional investors are asking their brokerage houses to strip out the cost of research from trading commissions, Dow Jones reports. They are apparently following the lead of Fidelity Investments, which struck deals with Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank late last year to separate the cost of trading from research.

Since then, Lehman and Morgan Stanley have indicated that other investors are looking to unbundle research from trading fees, and a trend appears to be developing.

"I have observed pockets of unbundling activity where people are choosing to pay by check for some research, so there's certainly more to unbundling than simply the Fidelity/Lehman story," commented Ian Domowitz, CEO of brokerage firm ITG Solutions Network.

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