Investment firms and brokers vary greatly in size and scope. What they do have in common is that they make money by buying and selling investment instruments for their customers. A full-service broker will offer many research and analysis services in addition to buying and selling stocks and securities for you. A discount broker doesn’t offer as much investment advice and charges lower fees.
Choosing a Broker. If you can find a good full service broker–someone who understands your financial needs and can put together a good investment plan for you–you should consider the extra fees well spent. If not, a discount broker may be your best bet. Whatever type of broker you use, you have to check for good service, quick execution of trades, and proper record keeping.
Dealing with Brokers. You have to be careful dealing with stock brokers, however, because they do work on commission. They may or may not have a good knowledge of certain investment areas, but in most cases they are sales people. As with all sales situations, you might find the extremely responsible sales person who takes a long term view and gives you the finest quality service in order to build lasting client loyalty and a good referral base. You might also have to deal with a skilled, high-pressure sales person who does not have your interest in heart.
Who Is The Broker? Many stock brokers are young men and women who make “cold calls” all day, calling strangers to try to convince them that a particular investment is promising. (If it’s so promising, why aren’t they already rich from investing in it?) They may be charming and persuasive. You might be a total stranger to them, but they will telephone you, call you by your first name, and act like your immediate best friend. Be careful with these people. Nothing is more uncertain than investment predictions. The only way to make money with high risk investments is to know what you’re doing. You can’t leave it to someone else.
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