Category: 1. Choosing Broker Tips

Stay safe

Make sure you only do business with reputable firms and understand how investor protection rules and compensation schemes will and will not protect you if the worst happens. This website has several articles on opening foreign brokerage accounts, which I believe is a sensible step for some experienced investors. But you...
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Don’t let them upsell you

Remember that a  stock broker’s business depends on how much commission and fees it generates. So they may try to encourage you to trade more often or sell you services and products you don’t need. If you have a personal advisory broker or representative, their income is sometimes tied...
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Make sure you like the service

Regardless of how good a firm looks on paper, that counts for little if the online trading platform is slow and buggy, the telephones are always engaged or the customer service staff are unhelpful. I have dealt with a number of big-name firms whose guiding principles seem to be...
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Look for a flexible, convenient service

At the same time, look for flexibility and range in the specific services that matter to you. If you’re looking for a stockbroker, consider whether the broker offers tax-advantaged accounts, such as ISAs and SIPPs in the UK. Minimising tax can make a big difference to your investment returns, especially for...
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All-on-one is not always the answer

This website is mostly focused on share dealing and in particular international share dealing. But many firms offer a wide range of other investment and trading services, such as a fund supermarket, contracts for difference (CFDs), foreign exchange trading, spreadbetting and so on. It can be handy to have...
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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...
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Understand how your stock broker works

This point is a bit more technical, but it can be helpful in picking the best firm. Different stock brokers deal in different markets in different ways, especially when it comes to international stocks. A few offer direct market access, meaning that your order is sent directly to the exchange....
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Decide what you want from your stock broker

Stock brokers fall into three types. Execution-only or discount brokers simply carry out your trading instructions, either online or by phone. Most of the stock brokers listed on this site are execution-only brokers.  Advisory or full service brokers will discuss your portfolio and investment ideas with you. You make the final decision, but they will offer...
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Check costs carefully

Many investors focus myopically on dealing commissions. But stock brokers levy a wide range of costs and some will promise low headline dealing rates, only to claw it all back through high currency conversion costs or excessive account management fees. Read the guide to how stock brokers charge and compare costs...
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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...
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