If the financial services industry has an Orphan Annie, the clearing business for bank broker-dealers just might be it.

It's a business headed for a shakeout, where few players are daring to tread. It is unwanted because the clientele served by the bank channel tends to be Mom and Pop; forlorn because trades tend to be for less value (and therefore small commissions); and ignored because the share blocks are in the dozens, not thousands.

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