How To Choose An Investment Broker

Date:

Is The Brokerage Covered By The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

How to choose a broker – MoneyWeek Investment Tutorials

Investment productssuch as brokerage or retirement accounts that invest in stocks, bonds, options, and annuitiesare not FDIC insured, because the value of investments cannot be guaranteed. If the brokerage offers CDs, Money Market Deposit Accounts , checking, or savings accounts, however, they should be fully backed by the FDIC.

What Are Brokerage Accounts

Brokerage accounts are a type of account used for investments. With a brokerage account open and funded, you can buy and sell stocks, bonds, funds, and other investments.

In many ways, brokerage accounts work like a bank account. They can hold cash and assets and are very secure. But unlike a bank account, which can only hold cash, brokerage accounts can hold a wide variety of assets that can go up and down in value over time.

Starting Your Investing Journey

Here are 7 things you may want to consider when starting your investment journey whether you are a self-directed investor or work with an Investor Advisor.

  • Whether you want to do it yourself or work with an advisorInvestment Advisors provide their clients with investment advice and help them make strategic investment decisions but typically at a higher cost. Online brokers, on the other hand, provide tools and resources to help clients make an informed decision on their own. Its important to think about how much support youll need making investment decisions or whether youre comfortable making investment decisions alone.

  • Your savings goals and objectivesThink about why you want to invest and the type of investor you want to be. Are you saving for a big purchase or your retirement? Is it to supplement your income source or maybe replace it? How much time do you want to spend managing investments? Are you looking to trade daily or just pick a couple of securities to invest in for the long-term? Your investment goals may also influence the type of account you choose to do your investing.

  • What you want to invest inYour broker should offer a range of investment products, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. Think about what youre looking to invest in now and in the future.

  • Don’t Miss: Merrill Edge Automatic Investment Plan

    Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management

    Canaccord Genuity offers execution only, advisory, and discretionary services to clients through its wealth management services. The company serves both UK and European clients and has £28.1bn in assets under management.

    In addition to its financial planning services, Canaccord Genuity offers customised investment management services that include:

    • Stockbroking
    • Portfolio management
    • Proprietary investment funds

    The company also caters to U.S. citizens who are resident in the UK, a demographic many typical brokers tend to exclude.

    Fee Structures Pricing And The Fine Print

    How to choose a stock broker

    A common fee structure for a broker is a per-trade commission. This can range from almost nothing to more than $100 per trade depending on how it is placed , the size of the order, and how liquid or accessible the security in question is.

    Some brokers have complex fee structures that make it harder to figure out what you’ll be paying. This is particularly common among broker-resellers who may use some aspect of a fee structure as a selling point to entice clients.

    If a broker seems to have an unusual fee structure, it’s all the more important to make sure that it’s legitimate, suits your best interests, and complements your investing style.

    Read the fine print in the account agreement and fee summaries if the rates seem too good to be true. Additional fees may be hidden there. These may include custodial fees as well as fees for wiring or withdrawing funds, closing accounts, transferring assets, margin fees, and so on.

    Don’t Miss: Single Family Real Estate Investing

    What Kind Of Online Brokerage Account Should I Choose

    There are a variety of accounts you can open with an online broker. If your goal is to save money that you wont need until retirement, then you may want to consider using a tax-advantaged account, such as an individual retirement account . If, on the other hand, your goal is to save for nearer-term goalssuch as a down payment on a housethen you may just want to use a taxable account that you can access at any time.

    How Well Does The Stock Broker Educate Its Clients

    While a useful and useable trading platform is crucial, you should also take the time to peruse the brokerages educational offerings and try out the search function.

    If you’re a new investor, you need to be able to search for terms you dont know or find advice on how to interpret data. If theres a topic youve been wondering about or a metric you dont completely understand, do a trial run using the search function and see if you can find the information you need quickly and efficiently.

    Remember, whats intuitive and user-friendly for one investor may be a nightmarish maze of fruitless search queries for another, so its important to find a platform that you can work with.

    Once youve spent 20 minutes or so cruising a platform, you should be able to answer the following questions pretty easily. If you cant, and a quick search of the site for specific answers doesnt yield the necessary information, its likely a sign that the brokerages platform is not for you.

    Recommended Reading: What Are Some Of The Investing Options Offered At Banks

    Your Own Investment Personality

    Are you an active trader or buy-and-hold investor? Whichever you are will affect your choice of brokers. If you are a buy-and-hold investor and mostly invest in index funds, making only a very few trades per year, fund selection may be more important to you than low transaction fees.

    You may even decide to invest with a fund family, particularly if they charge no fees on their own funds. On the other hand, if you are an active trader, executing dozens of trades per year, then transaction fees will be a major consideration.

    What Technical Indicators Are Available On The Chart

    How to Choose an Investment Broker

    In general, the more the better. At the very least, you should be able to plot basic indicators like volume, RSI, simple moving averages, Bollinger bands, MACD, and stochastics. If any of these basic indicators are missing, its time to move on. You should also be able to plot at least a few company events, like earnings reports, stock splits, and dividend payments.

    Don’t Miss: Easiest Way To Invest In S& p 500

    A Word On Suitability Vs Fiduciary

    Investment advisors and stockbrokers are regulated differently by the U.S. government specifically by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Stockbrokers. A stockbroker, often known as a registered representative, is regulated more lightly than an investment advisor. He or she must clear a suitability standard that means the investments they recommend and trade are suitable for their clients.

    For years, that standard has created controversy in the financial services industry, as a suitability standard is widely viewed as being laxer, regulation-wise, with brokers being able to put their interests above their clients in recommending specific investment products.

    Investment Advisors. Investment advisors are held to a more strict standard by the U.S. government. They must clear a fiduciary standard based on the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

    That statute defines a fiduciary as someone who occupies a special trust and confidence when working with clients and who acts ethically with a client.

    Word Of Advice: Picking Your First Stockbroker

    First of all, I would like to mention that your first broker doesnt necessarily is required to be your stock broker for life. You can definitely switch to another broker anytime you like. Moreover, you can even transfer your existing shares from one brokerage account to another. Personally, I have also switched brokers from ICICI Direct to Zerodha.

    However, it is not recommended to switch brokers as it involves some hassles and wastes time unnecessarily. Why not go with the best stockbroker itself so that you dont have to switch accounts later. Moreover, it is good to start with a suitable broker, and choosing a bad stockbroker may ruin your first experience in investing/trading. In addition, it may also cost you some bucks as switching costs if you moved to another broker.

    Next, youll need to open Demat and Trading Accounts with your stockbroker. Most brokers offer these two accounts altogether. These accounts are necessary to invest or trade in stocks in India.

    Before we dive into the topic, let me give you the smallest explanation of whats the difference between demat and trading accounts so that we are all on the same page.

    On the other hand, a trading account is a medium to buy and sell shares in a stock market. It is used to place purchase or selling orders for a stock in the market. Heres a guide to learn more about demat and trading accounts in India.

    Recommended Reading: How To Invest In Ada

    Watch Out For Account Fees

    You may not be able to avoid account fees completely, but you can certainly minimize them. Most brokers will charge a fee for transferring out investments or cash, or for closing your account. If youre transferring to another broker, that new company may offer to reimburse your transfer fees, at least up to a limit.

    Most other fees can be sidestepped by simply choosing a broker that doesnt charge them, or by opting out of services that cost extra. Common fees to watch out for include annual fees, inactivity fees, trading platform subscriptions and extra charges for research or data.

    » Learn more about brokerage fees and how to minimize them

    How Is A Brokerage Account Different From Other Accounts

    How to Choose the Right Investment Advisor Representative

    Brokerage account is a broad term that covers a few types of accounts. For example, a standard brokerage account offers maximum flexibility and access to a variety of investments. Learn more about how a standard brokerage account compares to other account types with our account comparison table below.

    Read Also: Stated Income Investment Property Loans

    How To Find A Financial Advisor

    Youve decided that you want to work with a financial advisor, and now you know how to evaluate candidates. What next?

    You can find potential advisors through an online search or referrals from family and friends. You can also check with the organizations that regulate each designation.

    MoneySense also has a handy resource: the MoneySense Find a Qualified Advisor Tool. All advisors listed in the tool are active members of the Financial Planning Association of Canada and have at least one recognized financial planning designation. You can search for advisors by location, specializations and more.

    A couple of weeks should be enough time to interview prospective advisors and make your final decision. Try not to rush the process. The steps listed above are important because its your livelihood and financial future were talking about. Working with the right advisor could mean the difference between an early retirement and having to work past age 65.

    If My Broker Goes Bankrupt Do I Lose All Of My Money

    Smart investing is about being prepared. While rare, it’s possible that your brokerage might declare bankruptcy. How can you protect yourself? Know whether your broker is covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation . The SIPC does not insure you against losses, but it will replace your shares in the event that your brokerage goes under. It will help you transfer your investments to another company.

    Recommended Reading: How To Invest In Crypto Exchanges

    How A Stockbroker Gets Paid

    There are significant variances on how much a broker can charge clients, based on the level of services they offer.

    For example, the commission varies between discount and full-service stockbrokers.

    • A discount brokerage firm typically charges on a limited basis usually for executing a trade for a client for a nominal fee. Discount brokerage services often charge as little as $5-to-$10 for trade execution, which includes services for holding the stock on the clients behalf and other operational services.
    • A full-service brokerage fee will charge more for added services, like for full-service money management, much like a financial planner. Full-service brokers may charge $100-and-up for trade execution, but costs accumulated for through market research and regular meetings with clients added into the mix.

    Brokerage clients will also likely be asked to make a minimum deposit in a brokerage account before they can start levering trading services. Depending on the level of service youre getting from a broker, that down payment can be as little as zero for a discount broker or $10,000 for a full-service broker.

    Decide What Part Of Your Financial Life You Need Help With

    How to choose a broker – MoneyWeek Investment Tutorials

    Before you speak to a financial advisor, decide which aspects of your financial life you need help with. When you first sit down with an advisor, youll want to be ready to explain your particular money management needs.

    Keep in mind that financial advisors provide more than just investment advice. The best financial planner is the one who can help you chart a course for all your financial needs. This can cover investment advice for retirement plans, debt repayment, insurance product suggestions to protect yourself and your family, and estate planning.

    Depending on where you are in life, you may not need comprehensive financial planning. People whose financial lives are relatively straightforward, like young people without families of their own or significant debt, might only need help with retirement planning.

    People with complex financial needs, however, may need extra assistance. They could be looking to establish college funds or trusts for their children, navigate aggressive debt payment situations or solve tricky tax problems. Not all types of financial advisors offer the same menu of services, so decide which services you need and let this guide your search.

    You May Like: The Best Online Investment Platform

    The Takeaway On Brokers Vs Investment Advisors

    Choosing between a stockbroker and an investment advisor is a highly personal matter, based on a money management clients unique financial needs.

    In broad terms, choosing an investment advisor means youre signing up for a more comprehensive money management experience, which will likely result in higher costs and fees.

    Selecting a stockbroker usually means youre getting more limited money management services, depending on the type of brokerage services offered.

    Making a qualified choice between an advisor and a broker requires thorough research and careful planning and a candid look at your own financial and investment needs.

    How We Make Money

    You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout lifes financial journey.

    Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.

    Were transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.

    Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.

    Recommended Reading: Signature Estate & Investment Advisors Llc

    Other Online Brokerages We Considered

    • Etrade: Etrade is the original online brokerage. It offers a good experience for active traders with competitive pricing. Etrade was recently acquired by Wall Street powerhouse Morgan Stanley. It is a large discount brokerage that supports most investment types and a wide range of accounts. For experienced investors, Etrade is a good choice for its platforms and range of investments, but the trading experience is not quite as good as thinkorswim at TD Ameritrade.
    • WeBull: WeBull is a newer brokerage that uses a no-commissions model. It uses a high-tech web platform ideal for more active traders. WeBull offers personal and retirement accounts and a more limited set of investment options. WeBull is a top choice for free brokerage accounts. However, it doesn’t offer the full range of available investments and can be tricky to navigate for beginner investors.
    • TradeStation: TradeStation was a close runner-up for the best brokerage for active traders, but its pricing isn’t quite as good as the winner. It gives traders access to a set of powerful tools on par with what’s used by professional and institutional traders.
    • Ally Invest: Ally Invest is a very low-cost brokerage that pairs well with Ally’s best-in-class checking and savings accounts. It is a great platform for beginner stock and ETF traders. It has trading platforms that are fairly straightforward but don’t offer the same depth of features as some of the best platforms for active trading.

    Do I Need An Investment Broker

    How to pick the very best Online Stock Broker â Costar Finance

    Investment brokers may be beneficial for people who are new to investing and also people who are looking to build a robust investment strategy.

    Your investment goals and strategy will determine what type of investment broker you should work with. Youll want to align those goals and strategy with a brokers fees.

    For example, if youre an investor who wants to make frequent trades, working with a broker that has high trading commissions likely isnt a good fit. If you have a smaller portfolio, working with a broker that has high AUM fees also wont be beneficial for your goals.

    Recommended Reading: Investing Outside Of Retirement Accounts

    Popular

    More like this
    Related

    Investment Account Sign Up Bonus

    Acorns $25...

    Series 65 Registered Investment Advisor

    Who Needs...

    Who Can Invest In Venture Capital Funds

    The Life...