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 you advice. And some advisory brokers also offer discretionary services for clients with large portfolios, where they will manage your money for you.

Advisory services obvious cost more, but some investors appreciate the extra support and insight their broker can offer. Getting the best from an advisory stock broker involves finding one that you have a good relationship with and can trust their advice. That isn’t always easy.

As part of this, you also need to think about how you plan to invest. Frequent traders will requires high-speed online access and low commissions, while infrequent investors may be happy to deal by telephone and be less concerned about costs.

That said, while services aimed at long-term investors will never be suitable for traders, the opposite is not always true. There are plenty of companies that market themselves to frequent traders, but will still be a good and cheap service for those who trade infrequently. So don’t be put off by the advertising.

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