Is perpetual independence possible? The founder of one of the country's largest independent broker-dealers is designing his own estate and succession plan to try to make it a reality.

In a riveting move, Cambridge Investment Research - ranked No. 9 on the latest FP50 list of U.S. independent broker-dealers - is constructing a strategy to transfer about $130 million of the company's total $300 million value from founder Eric Schwartz, 60, to company insiders. Ultimately Schwartz's plan would put the entire firm in the hands of Cambridge advisors and employees - a move aimed at preserving the firm's independence indefinitely.

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