BOSTON — The difficult times many retail brokerage firms aregoing through may be putting a strain on the client/brokerrelationship, making it difficult for brokers to continue to growtheir books of business.

That is one of the findings from a new Aite Group LLC report.Based on a survey of 69 U.S.-based employee brokers, the dataprovides insight into which employees are most likely to goindependent, categorizing them by assets under management, totalrevenue, percentage of recurring fee income, financial planning andtheir product preferences, among others.

Aite's research found that more than one in four employeebrokers are currently considering going independent. Among the fiveleading full-service retail brokerage firms alone (Merrill Lynch,Citi/Smith Barney, Wachovia Securities, Morgan Stanley, and UBS),this would roughly add up to a 16,300 potential breakaway brokers,according to the research. Should all of these brokers decide toleave, these firms could lose an estimated $2 trillion in clientassets and $7.5 billion in revenues.

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