Definition of a Securities Brokerage

by Alex Kocic ; Updated July 27, 2017
Brokerage firms offer investment advice to clients.

A securities brokerage is a firm trading stocks and bonds on behalf of its clients. It employs brokers authorized to buy and sell securities based on clients’ orders. Firms providing financial advice to clients charge more, while those which only execute clients’ orders offer a discount service.

What They Do

Brokerage firms help their clients buy or sell stocks, bonds and other securities. Their brokers place buy and sell orders, and later report to their customers on the outcome of transactions. For that service, the firms charge commission.

Full or Discount Brokers

Brokerage firms doing market research and providing advice to clients are known as full-service firms. Their expertise comes at a cost. For those willing to do their own research and just need help executing orders without any investment advice, there are discount brokers. These offer lower fees and allow almost anyone to trade stocks and securities.

Broker vs. Dealer

While a broker acts as an agent, executing his client’s orders, a dealer has his own account from which he buys and sells securities for his clients. Most brokerage firms act as brokers and dealers, which is why the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

About the Author

Alex Kocic has been a journalist since 1985, starting at a local radio station in Pancevo, Serbia, before moving to BBC World Service in London. He has freelanced for BBC Radio 4 and 5Live, and a number of Serbian media outlets, including B92, "Vreme," "E-Magazin" and "Travel Magazine." Kocic has a Master of Arts in international relations from the University of Staffordshire.

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