What's my book worth?” That's a question we hear a lot. As we report in “What's Your Book Worth?” Page 44, independent practices generally sell for one to two times revenue.

But as an employee-broker, you have no equity in your book. Most firms offer some kind of transition plan, but those deals don't provide full value.

There are some things you can do to scrape more out of your life's work, like jump ship a few years before retiring. But this is not an easy move for you or your clients.

As brokers age and retire, Wall Street firms would do well to work out better transition plans. The biggest winners would be clients, who would enjoy better continuity of service.

Beware Your Best Client

This month's contributor of our Legal Corner column (Page 34), securities attorney David Bartholomew, dropped this one on me at a recent lunch meeting: Your best clients are your most dangerous. Really? I asked. Oh yes, confirmed David's colleague at Keesal Young & Logan, Michele Fron. “We just got one of those cases today.”

The problem is getting too close to a good client, losing objectivity and maybe cutting a few corners. And what's the harm? It's all for providing better service to your best client.

But when money is in dispute, relationships change, and you could find yourself in trouble. Read how to avoid problems with your most dangerous customer.

The War on Analysts Could Hurt Brokers

The NASD has proposed a burdensome disclosure rule for analysts — and has decided brokers should be covered, too! The proposal would cover public presentations like seminars where you may give a “recommendation” on a security.

If this rule is approved, it won't be long before compliance cops could ban any kind of comment about a stock during a presentation.

Help kill this idea by sending comments to the NASD. Find Notice to Members 01-45 at www.nasdr.com/pdf-text/0145ntm.txt.

Best of luck,