The Glass-Steagall Act will soon join the dodo bird. But forget the excitement about combining financial and nonfinancial firms. Washington is only lukewarm about the idea and likely to impose stringent limitations. Besides, Sears' purchase and subsequent spinoff of Dean Witter proved that people don't buy their stocks where they buy their socks.

For investors, the much more interesting question is: When banks, brokers, and insurers are completely free to combine, which will win?

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