Are you looking to take charge of your investments but don’t know where to begin? Or perhaps you’re new to investing altogether. A broker-dealer may be the crucial missing piece you’ll need in your next big investment.
According to a recent report, there are over 3,400 in the US and you’ll likely be needing their services for key investment opportunities.
You might be asking yourself, “What is a broker-dealer?”
Keep reading to find out what they do, the different types, and how they can be beneficial to you.
What Is a Broker-Dealer?
A broker-dealer by definition is an individual or firm that is in the business of buying and selling securities on behalf of customers or for their own account.
A license allows them to sell virtually any type of security including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
As registered financial professionals, they’re governed by rules and regulations enforced by both the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) and the FINRA (or Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.)
FINRA compliance is a requirement for all brokerages in the United States.
These guidelines are part of the law and are set in place to ensure fair operating practices. They also serve as a way to protect the investor.
What Broker-Dealers Do
Broker-dealer firms fill two essential roles: Brokers and Dealers.
As brokers, they act as middlemen, buying and selling securities on behalf of their clients. In return for their services, they receive a commission.
As dealers, they can buy and sell securities to or from investors. They act as a match-maker between their clients and other buyers and sellers.
As broker-dealers, they do both.
However, they can only act in the capacity of a single role at a given time. They must provide their client with written notice of which role they are assuming during a transaction.
By accumulating securities before they’ve secured buyers, broker-dealers play an essential part in keeping the market liquid.
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Types of Broker-Dealers
There are two primary types: Full-service and discount.
Full-service broker-dealers offer a large number of services to their clients including record-keeping, financial advisory, planning, and more. It’s a one-stop shop for your financial needs.
Discount brokers offer essential services and simple execution of buy and sell orders. In essence, they save time and offer an efficient, no-frills approach.
How Much Do They Cost?
The cost will vary depending on the type of brokerage you choose. Some offer a flat fee, charged per transaction. Others charge a percentage of the total sale. And some, a combination of the two.
Full-service broker-dealers generally have steeper rates: between 1-2% of the total trade cost.
Discount brokerages offer far lower fees, often charging a flat fee. This can range from 0$ to 30$ per trade.
The Bottom Line
No more asking yourself “What is a broker-dealer?” Now you know exactly what they do and how essential they can be in the investment process.
Whether you’re investing for the first time or just want to be more proactive in managing your own portfolio. A broker-dealer could help take your investment to the next level.
If you found this article helpful, keep coming back for more great investing insights!
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