It is possible for a midsize brokerage firm to stay out of the merger fray, but it is not easy. So say two regional brokerage executives who recently sold their firms to large banking companies.

"Banks will increasingly take market share away from the industry," said Marshall B. Wishnack, chairman and chief executive officer of First Union Capital Markets Corp. Mr. Wishnack headed Richmond, Va.-based Wheat First Butcher Singer & Co. before selling it to First Union in February 1998.

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