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June 14, 2009
Brokerage Account
When setting up a brokerage account there are certain things that you should look into. You obviously need to first decide on the actual brokerage firm that you will use. Selecting an online broker can and should take time and research. Below are those items that you should look into when selecting an online broker.

Differential Pricing and Account Minimums – Many brokers will require that you maintain a minimum trading account balance. Others will also charge a lower price if you maintain a certain account balance or trade above a certain number.

Automatic Investing – Some brokerage firms offer automatic investments. This is only an option that appeals to some investors who are okay with a stock broker or other type of investment manager executing trades on their behalf, according to an automatic schedule.

Assisted Trades – When opening a brokerage account look into the fee for assisted trades if you think you need that service. Some brokerage firms will charge extra for calls made to ask them to place a stock trade. Just be sure to find out if that is an option and if so what the fee would be for that service.

Inactivity Fee – Most trading brokers charge an inactivity fee if you don't trade for a specific period of time. Find out if the firm you choose has this fee and if so what the specific period of time is for your brokerage account so that you avoid the fee.

Customer Service – There are reviews available for different brokerage firms that tell you other investor's opinions and their experiences with the firms. Online stock trading forums also will give you an idea sometimes into how brokers react when you need to rely on them for services.

Dividend ReinvestmentDividend reinvestment allows investors to gain benefits involved with compounding your dividend returns over long periods of time. Some firms will allow you to do this by holding fractional shares in a company.

Promotional Offers – Many firms will offer incentives for you to leave your current broker and to switch to them. Some may give you cash back other rewards for making the switch.

Exchange Traded FundsExchanged traded funds (ETFs) are not available at brokerage firms. When opening a brokerage account ensure that the firm you choose offers ETF trading if you plan to do that. A lot of people assume all brokerage firms offer this service but there are many that do not offer it as one of their investment options.

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