The brokers' customers did reasonably well. The brokers did not.
That is not the usual way of Wall Street. Two-thirds of a century ago, a best seller asked, "Where are the customers' yachts?" It noted that somehow the brokers always made money, even when their customers suffered. And so it has been for most of the years since then.
But not in 2007.
How could that happen? In recent years, Wall Street came up with what amounted to parallel markets. Ordinary investors could buy and sell stocks and bonds, but the favored insiders could partake of a host of investments not available to the rest of us. There were specialized securities and complex derivatives, and instruments known by their initials: C.D.O.'s, M.B.S.'s and SIVs.