As an investor, choosing a broker is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. Here are three things you want to look for before you open an account.
1. Decide where you want to invest
If you only plan to invest in shares listed in your local stock market, then in most countries you’ll have plenty of brokers to choose from. If you want to invest in some foreign markets, you may have very limited options. Check the international stock broker guide to see which firms will trade which markets.
Some brokers allow you to place trades via phone, in-person, or through the Internet. Whatever the case is, the key is that you need to be able to place a trade online. Placing a trade online will generally cost you between $7-$15, whereas placing a trade over the phone or in-person can cost you anywhere between $25-$100. The difference in savings between making an $8 trade and a $10 trade is nowhere near the difference in making a $10 trade and a $50 trade. So whatever you do, make trades online.
3.Any advice is generally useless
Any advice or research they give is generally useless. Don’t pay much for it: Some firms justify higher prices based on ‘personalized research’ or ‘excellent investment advice.’ Almost always, these perks are worth little. Again, if it’s the difference between making $8 trades with no help and $10 trades with some help, go with the $10 trades if you want the advice or research. But don’t be paying $50 a trade and up for research and advice. Chances are you are best served just investing in index funds or ETFs anyway.