Be cynical about the bells and whistles

Some stock brokers provide a barebones services, offering trading services and nothing else. Others will send you regular research notes or have websites full of company fundamental data. Many include free streaming price data and some offer Level 2 data, usually at an extra fee.

Some of this information can be very useful. However, much of it will be irrelevant to many investors – the long-term investor doesn’t really need live Level 2 prices, for example. And you may well be able to get the same information either better or at lower cost through a separate provider.

Think carefully about whether all the extras a stock broker promises are really worth much to you. You may be better off with you’d be better off with a simpler, cheaper firm and subscribing to the one or two things you need separately.

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