Broker definition

What is a broker?

A broker is an independent person or a company that organises and executes financial transactions on behalf of another party. They can do this across a number of different asset classes, including stocks, forex, real estate and insurance. A broker will normally charge a commission for the order to be executed.

Some brokers will provide you with market data and give you advice on the products you want to buy or sell – depending on whether they are a full service broker, or execution only. However, a broker must be licensed to give advice and execute the sale, and they will only perform trades on your behalf once you have given them the go-ahead.

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Types of broker

There are four main types of broker – a stock broker, forex broker, full-service broker and discount broker. While they all act as a facilitator between you and another party, they operate differently from each other. Some brokers are ‘execution-only’ brokers, while others execute, offer advice and manage your portfolio.

What is a stock broker?

A stock broker – also known as an investment broker – manages and executes the buying and selling of shares. Because individual investors cannot buy shares directly from the stock market, you would need a stock broker. The broker will buy and sell the stocks you want to invest in.

What is a forex broker?

A forex broker, also known as a retail forex broker, buys and sells currencies on your behalf. The benefit of having a forex broker includes 24-hour market access and the ability to speculate on currency pairs all over the world. Forex brokers try to minimise their costs to stay competitive in the market, but you still pay certain fees when trading with them, including a spread. Transactions in the forex market are done in pairs, so you’d either buy or sell the pair you’d want to trade – for example GBP/USD.

What is a full-service broker?

Full-service brokers, or financial advisers, offer more than one service – such as retirement and investment planning, tax advice and research. Someone who doesn’t have time to do their own financial planning might find this type of broker useful. Full-service brokers normally work for fee that is higher than other broker fees. The main difference between full-service brokers and other brokers is the amount of services they offer.

What is a discount broker?

A discount broker is a broker that charges a lower commission, because they don’t offer any advice or value-adds like research and planning to your trade, they only execute. Typically, the more trades they execute for you, the lower the cost. If you choose this type of broker, you would need to manage your portfolio yourself.

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All trading involves risk and losses can exceed deposits. Trading CFDs may not be suitable for everyone so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. All trading involves risk and losses can exceed deposits.