The Disgrace of a Stock Lifetime
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook's(FB) moving in on that key 13-and-under demo! Business must be really rocking there to reach down to that cohort, right?
I don't know about yours, but I have to tell you that the sour taste of the Facebook deal hasn't left my mouth yet.
If you go back just a couple of weeks, we were at a crucial moment in time. The individual investor has been crushed for so long now that it was almost impossible to think about what could bring him back to stocks.
The lies, the disasters, the promises broken, the unreliability of the system, the inability to prosecute the so-called bad guys who almost brought down the house all made it so the retail investor would be as nuts to stay in the stock market as a depositor would be to stay with a Spanish bank.
It was just not rational for many to take a beating like this, particularly because the ETF craze and indexing, considered to be the only real ways to make money (false, but what can I say?) had done so poorly for people.
But the whole industry of financial services and its regulators really hasn't shown an ounce of remorse whatsoever. The industry caters to the big bill payers, not the small ones, even as the small ones together constitute the backbone of the markets and are needed to keep them deep and liquid.
The industry itself has very little self-examination. You almost never hear anyone say "We have to worry about the regular investor," because the regular investor as an individual doesn't pay the bills, even though in an aggregate they can be huge for the market's depth and its lifeblood, volume.
Indeed, most of the trading, and almost all of the attempted trading, comes from machine to machine where very little is made, or from giant mutual funds who are catered to for their every whim.
But the buyer of 100 shares of this or 50 shares of that is a waste of time and too expensive to help. Financial services has become like any other business. Many firms believe you can't make money servicing smaller clients with humans, just like banks want smaller clients to use ATM machines and not tellers. It's just a fact of life to these giant financial outfits.
And then along comes Facebook. Here's a big visible offering where, if there were any rationality or tradition of fairness on Wall Street, everyone should have been allowed to win.