Don't Just Pay Up — Straighten Up

It looks like top brokerage firms could pay up to $1 billion to settle claims they had tainted research.

I could have saved them a lot of dough with this simple advice: Stop lying. Don't just pay up -- straighten up.

When your analysts are sitting on the boards of the very companies they're supposed to be impartially critiquing -- that's wrong.

When your top research stars are telling clients a stock's a buy, but privately joking it's a dud -- that's wrong.

When your investment bankers taint research to suit whatever money-grubbing scheme they're on -- that's wrong.

You don't need a class in ethics. You need class, period.  Wharton doesn't teach you that. Common sense tells you that.

Your friends can't teach decency. Your parents should have.

All the money in the world can't hide the creeps among you. But it's going to take a lot of money to toss the creeps who still surround you.

Believe me when I say the creeps are the minority. But they are killing it for the majority.

The good analyst who's afraid to say anything bad, for fear he'll cost his firm some valued client business.

The friendly broker who assumes the information he's passing along to customers is true and not tainted.

You want to do good? Then stop acting bad.

You want to be up front? Then quit stabbing your customers in the back.

So stop the hearings and start hearing: Before you pay for it, first try meaning it.

Watch Neil Cavuto's Common Sense weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Your World w/Cavuto.