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Types of Brokers: Full Service, Discount, Deep Discount

, | August 30, 2018 | By

The transition of the financial markets to the online space has brought many changes to the futures industry. From breaking down the traditional barriers of entry to placing an added impetus on technology, the digital marketplace has created many advantages and disadvantages for retail traders.

Perhaps the greatest upside to online futures trading is the diversity in the types of brokers available to market participants. No matter whether you’re selecting a broker based on reputation, service suite, or cost structure, a desirable alternative exists. Being able to satisfy your market-related needs at an affordable price is no longer a luxury — it’s the name of the game.

Full-service Brokers

Full-service brokerages provide clients access to vast resources and customized support. Because they’re one-stop-shops for all things trading, full-service brokers are ideal for traders new to the markets or for people who prefer a hands-off approach to capital investment.

As the name “full-service” implies, attention to the needs of the customer are of paramount importance. Here are a few benefits this type of broker provides its clients:

  • Personal broker: A licensed industry professional is available to place trades, offer advice, and provide client support when necessary.
  • Market research: The assets of the firm’s entire research department are at the disposal of the client.
  • Order entry options: Orders may be placed upon the market over the phone, online, or at the discretion of the personal broker.

Full-service brokers offer a broad spectrum of financial options and expertise. However, the comprehensive customer support comes at a price. Additional fees and higher commission structures are typical of full-service brokers. These fees are certainly warranted due to the degree of attention a client receives, but each client must decide whether the incremental cost is a wise investment.

Discount Brokers

Of the three types of brokers, the discount variety is popular among traders who want some degree of independence. Discount brokers offer much of what full-service firms do — except for the personal touch.

The primary draw of discount brokers is reduced trade-related costs. Lower commissions and fees are passed along to the client as a product of a limited service suite. A discount broker differs from a full-service firm in the following areas:

  • Order entry: The clients places orders on the market independently, via an online portal.
  • Research/analytics: The client conducts market analysis and research using a supported software trading platform.
  • Professional advice: No personalized advice or trade recommendations are furnished. Decision-making responsibilities fall solely upon the client.

In recent years, the service gap between full-service and discount brokers has narrowed. Many discount firms now offer advanced research software to clients, as well as varying degrees of trade-related support. As the provision of top-notch trade execution and market analytics has become cost effective for the broker, these features have become available to the masses online.

Deep Discount Brokers

Popular among experienced and high-volume traders, deep discount brokers offer a bare-bones approach to the markets. While one-on-one attention is a rarity, the ability to execute trades independently at the lowest price available is the calling card of deep discount brokerages. Featuring rock-bottom pricing and competitive market accessibility, deep discount firms are a suitable choice for many self-directed traders.

Online trading has given traders an ability to interact with the market directly, without the need of an intermediary. Due to advances in technology, deep discount brokers can now facilitate the trader/market dialogue while assuming minimal costs.

What Types of Brokers May Be Right for Me?

It remains debatable whether the electronic marketplace has made the process of price discovery more efficient, but it has increased the variety of brokerage options. No matter your resources or trading style, various types of brokers stand ready to assist you.

Featuring a robust service suite, StoneX provides a wide variety of brokerage options. From self-directed traders to hands-off investors, the team at StoneX can help you achieve nearly any market-related objective.

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