Step-By-Step Advice on How to Get a
Good Broker to Help You Make Money
The ongoing mission of Street Player is to provide free information and knowledge for success starting from today's date about Online Stock Market trading. This is a detailed checklist of the suggested process I use when looking for a new Stock Market, forex or commodity futures broker (any additions are welcome!). Many of these steps will be universally applicable, others will relate only to my personal needs. So, pick and choose the ones that apply to your situations:
Note - Some firms with a poor disciplinary history may have changed their name and registered with the NFA under a new name to try to 'hide' their history. So ask the NFA how long each firm has been registered under their name. If not long, then ask the firm for their previous name, and get the NFA to check under that name! Click now for the
Going a step further - you could even ask the potential brokerage firm for the name of the floor broker/s that it uses in the pit/s that you trade, and have the NFA check up on them too!
1. Once you get your NFA reports, you may choose to automatically rule out a few firms with poor disciplinary records. There are two things that I look for in these reports. Firstly, any major 'problem' like a huge fine/fraud/big lawsuit etc. Secondly, I look for an excessive number of reparation complaints against that firm, relative to other firms. I'm not overly concerned about occasional minor rule infringement.
2. With your surviving 'possibilities' - contact them! Be sure to let them know that you are speaking to a few different firms, and that you won't be making a decision until after you have spoken to everyone. Not only is this a good idea, it's also a useful negotiating tactic. Make the firms compete for your business!
3. Ask each one, any probing questions that you can think of e.g.:
If dealing with an individual person (e.g. full-service broker), how experienced is he/she? Will he/she help you with order placement if you need help etc? If dealing with a discount order desk, where is it located? (preferably on the exchange floor) How many phone calls before your order reaches the pit? How fast is their turnaround time in the markets you trade? (especially important in New York markets).
You don't want a broker that is slow to report your fills. Does the clearing firm use salaried pit brokers, or independent pit brokers (in the markets you trade)? Preferably you want independent pit brokers, because they will likely have a greater vested interest in giving out good fills, as opposed to a salaried employee, who is merely doing a 'job'.
It is also easier for a firm to switch from one independent pit broker to another, than to get rid of a salaried employee. Is the clearing firm financially sound? Is it a member of all the exchanges that you trade on? (If not, find out the other clearing firms, and check their disciplinary records).
4. Negotiate the best commission rate you can, based on your account size/trading activity and experience. Make sure that you negotiate all fees (except the $0.16 NFA fee) into the commission rate that is quoted to you, otherwise they'll show up as 'extras' on your statements! Tell them about a better competitive offer (if you have one)! Don't commit to anyone until you've sized up all the offers.
5. Then, based on all criteria (not just commission rate) pick a firm that you feel will best suit your needs and personality. Don't necessarily go with the lowest commission rate. Go with the best 'all-round' offer. You don't want to be penny-wise and pound foolish!
Finally, my personal belief (contrary to the opinions of some traders), is even if you are a novice trader you are better off going with a quality discount firm (as opposed to full-service) in order to reduce your trading overhead.
If a (full-service) broker's 'advice' was so wonderful then he wouldn't be a broker, he'd be a trader. If you are a novice who needs help in learning how to place orders, and wants a thorough understanding of the order process itself, then order Joe Ross' course "How to Place Trading Orders." You'll likely learn more about order placement from this course than you will from your full-service broker, and save yourself lots of money from trading the markets in the process. Contributed by Simon Campbell
Choosing a good stock market or commodities futures broker is an important part of profitable trading. While it is easy to obtain recommendations for a broker, the actual selection process itself is often overlooked. What is a great Stock Market or commodity broker to someone else, might not be a great broker for you. For this very reason, I have avoided giving out my own Stock Market or commodity broker recommendation (plus, I don't want to detract from the selection procedure itself).
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