Money for nothing

The journey down a long, winding, and often silly path to a settlement in the suit by New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer against the brokerage firms will end tomorrow in New York. The agreement will include around $1.4-billion in payments from a host of brokers, an avalanche of emails and other supporting documents, and much wagging of fingers on both sides.

Will it mean anything though? Likely not. This was as much a product of the times as of people who consciously ignored the rules. Analysts and investment bankers have more to worry about now — like their jobs — than trying to find ways to separate institutional and retail clients from their capital.