We're always skeptical when Wall Street takes away your choices. They are only doing it to make more money from you and that is exactly what we see happening with Morgan Stanley's (NYSE: MS) acquisition of E-Trade Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: ETFC).
It's a similar theme that we saw when other Wall Street titans, like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), started to offer their money management services to retail investors.
We know you need to use a brokerage firm to buy and sell stocks. And now, with zero-dollar commissions being the industry standard, we really have to wonder why Morgan Stanley would buy a non-income producing asset like a discount broker.
When you take all individual investors together as a group, they are sitting on $72 trillion in cash. That's all you need to know.
You know they didn't do it to level the playing field between you and their lucrative institutional clients who generate millions in fees each year. They did it because they found another way to make money, this time off a segment that up until now wasn't worth their time.
As their new client, you will be part of a new revenue generation stream that goes beyond simple brokerage commissions.
Here's what to look out for to protect your money when Wall Street wants even more of it...