I landed an internship on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1982. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 miles away in Tampa, Fla., Invest Financial Corp. broke new ground as the first firm to close a stock sale from inside the lobby of a bank-the Coast Federal Savings & Loan in Sarasota.

At the time, nearly 50 years had passed since Congress had enacted the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, separating banks from brokerages. And the regulators were not particularly happy about bringing banks and brokerages back together. The investment representative's office inside the bank had to be "separate and distinct" from the lobby, right down to the color of the carpet.

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