The rapid spread and direct threat of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted economies around the world. One major repercussion of the pandemic is the surge of interest from thousands of amateur stock market traders and investors because of COVID lockdowns. As a result, many newcomers have asked questions about buying and selling stocks, and whether they should invest in a stockbroker.

So, what is a stock broker?

Stockbrokers are financial professionals who execute orders in the stock market on behalf of their clients. You may be familiar with other names for stockbrokers, such as share broker, registered representative (RR), or investment advisor.

How do stockbrokers work, and what do they do?

The market is split into two types of stockbrokers: full-service brokers and online brokers, also known as discount brokers.

Usually, full-service advice brokers manage your portfolio and recommend which stocks you should buy and sell. You will typically pay more brokerage fees for their advice because they are more actively involved in your investments.

As the name suggests, online and discount brokers are relatively inexpensive since you make all the purchasing and selling decisions and conduct all transactions online.

It would be best if you considered your personal circumstances when choosing a broker. People who lack time to spend researching investment options can benefit more from a full-service broker, as they are more likely to be new to the stock market or new to investing. Even so, some traders and investors prefer making their purchases and sales over the telephone rather than through the internet. Additionally, those who spend a lot of time away from their desk and computers appreciate the service.

In-depth research conducted by full-service brokers can save you time, and you can also access local and offshore markets. They are more attractive to high-net-worth clients and self-managed super funds because full-service brokers offer individualized investment advice tailored to a client’s investment style, which generally attracts clients with a larger minimum account size. Even so, there are still some businesses that will accept those with lower account balances.

How do I choose the right broker for me?

An online broker can be more suitable for those who are more confident about the stock market and know how to trade because it offers greater investor control and greater possibilities when buying and selling. The prices are much lower than what you’d pay for advice from a broker, which can make you save money. The downside is that people are drawn to online brokers all too often due to their perceived low cost. However, going this route may cost you more in lost capital and the chance to make money in the market.

On the plus side, there are various tools available to you from most online brokers for conducting your own research so you can make online transactions. In addition, their minimum opening balance requirements are lower.

Online brokers have the major advantage of allowing you to watch your investments in real-time throughout the day, but they can also have the disadvantage of causing you to become anxious if a trade fails. Thus, if you have difficulty controlling your emotions, particularly in the early days of trading, a full-service broker can be of great value.

Whether you decide to use a full-service advice broker or an online broker, it would be best to consider what you need and what will serve you best before considering price.

At Ironbark Wealth Advisers we have considerable experience in transacting shares on behalf of our clients. Depending upon your situation and requirements, we offer either a full advice service or general advice on all shares listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). Contact us to learn more about our stock broker services, and how we could tailor to you.

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