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Broker Definition, Types, Regulation, and Examples

Broker Definition, Types, Regulation, and Examples
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The intermediary between buyers and sellers in the market is the broker. They execute traders’ buy and sell orders and charge the spread as a commission fee. Online Forex brokers make market participation accessible to everyone without the need to go through banks.

A broker serves as a financial middleman that connects counterparties to a transaction without being directly involved in it. In the realm of forex, a broker functions as an agent or company that carries out orders to buy and sell currencies on behalf of their clients. They facilitate transactions between banks, bringing buyers and sellers together for a commission paid by the initiator or both parties involved.

Brokers operate as agents earning commissions rather than principals acting on their accounts.

What Is a Broker?

A broker serves as a middleman connecting investors with securities exchanges. Since securities exchanges exclusively accept orders from their members, individual traders and investors rely on brokers to facilitate their transactions.

Brokers offer this essential service and receive compensation through commissions, fees, or payments from the exchange. Benstride frequently evaluates leading brokers, curating a list of the finest online brokers and trading platforms. This resource aids investors in selecting the most suitable broker for their needs.

Comparison of the Best Online Brokers

Forex BrokerAccepts KE ResidentsAverage Spread EUR/USD – StandardMinimum DepositOverallVisit Site
XMYes0.828$5.004.9 StarsVisit Site
FXPesaYes1.800$50.004.0 StarsVisit Site
FOREX.comYes1.100$100.004.5 StarsVisit Site
eToroYes1.00$10-$2004.5 Stars
AvaTradeYes0.910$100.004.5 StarsVisit Site
Capital.comYes0.800$20.004.5 StarsVisit Site
IC MarketsYes0.620$2004.5 StarsVisit Site
OANDAYes1.400$0.004.5 StarsVisit Site
PepperstoneYes0.770$200.004 StarsVisit Site
FP MarketsYes1.200$100 AUD4 StarsVisit Site
FxProYes0.600$1004 StarsVisit Site
HotForexYes1.200$54 StarsVisit Site
Vantage FXYes1.220$2004 StarsVisit Site
Deriv.comYes1.220$10.004.5 StarsVisit Site
OlympTradeYes1.200$2004 StarsVisit Site
IQ OptionYes1.200$54 StarsVisit Site
FXTMYes1.200$504 StarsVisit Site
ExpertOptionYes0.60$04 StarsVisit Site
Forex.comYes0.845$2003.5 StarsVisit Site
LegacyFxYes0.00$5003.5 Stars

Understanding Brokers

Brokers not only fulfill client orders but also offer investors research insights, investment strategies, and market analysis. Additionally, they may promote other financial products and services available through their brokerage firms, including exclusive access to tailored solutions designed for high-net-worth individuals within a private client offering.

Historically, only affluent individuals could engage brokers and tap into the stock market. However, the advent of online brokering led to the proliferation of discount brokers, enabling investors to trade at reduced costs albeit without personalized advisory services.

Discount vs. Full-Service Brokers

Discount brokers provide the convenience of executing various types of trades for clients at a reduced commission, typically ranging from $5 to $15 per trade. Their cost-effective fee structure hinges on high volume and minimized expenses. These brokers refrain from offering investment advice, and their brokers generally earn a salary rather than a commission. Many discount brokers furnish an online trading platform, appealing to a growing demographic of self-directed investors. Such platforms often charge $0 in commissions.

Contrarily, full-service brokers extend a suite of services encompassing market research, investment counsel, and retirement planning, in addition to a comprehensive array of investment products. Consequently, investors should anticipate paying higher commissions for their transactions. Brokers derive compensation from their brokerage firm based on trading volume and the sale of investment products. A rising trend among brokers involves offering fee-based investment products like managed investment accounts.

Real Estate Brokers

In the realm of real estate, a broker stands as a licensed professional who typically acts on behalf of the seller in property transactions. The core responsibilities of a broker representing a seller encompass:

  1. Assessing the market values of properties.
  2. Listing and promoting the property for sale.
  3. Presenting the property to potential buyers.
  4. Guiding clients regarding offers, terms, and relevant issues.
  5. Presenting all offers to the seller for review.

It’s not uncommon for a real estate broker to serve a buyer as well. In such cases, the broker is tasked with:

  1. Identifying properties within the buyer’s preferred location and budgetary constraints.
  2. We are drafting an initial offer and purchase agreement for buyers interested in a property.
  3. Negotiating with the seller on behalf of the buyer.
  4. Overseeing property inspections and negotiating repair agreements.
  5. Guiding the buyer through the closing process and facilitating possession of the property.

Broker Regulation

Brokers who are registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) adhere to the standards set forth by the broker-dealers’ self-regulatory body. Central to their service is the “suitability rule,” which mandates that recommendations for specific products or investments must be based on reasonable grounds. The rule’s second component, often known as “know your customer” (KYC), outlines the procedures brokers must follow to identify their clients and understand their savings objectives, thereby ensuring the recommendations are grounded in sound judgment.

In compliance with this rule, brokers must exert reasonable effort to gather information about the customer’s financial and tax status, investment goals, and other pertinent details influencing the recommendation process.

This standard of conduct differs notably from that applied to financial advisors registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as registered investment advisors (RIAs). Governed by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, RIAs are bound by a stringent fiduciary duty, obligating them to consistently prioritize their client’s best interests and provide transparent disclosure regarding their fees.

In the United States, real estate brokers obtain licensure at the state level rather than through federal oversight. Each state has its own legislation defining the nature of client-broker relationships and outlining brokers’ obligations to clients and the general public.

Examples of Brokers

Full-service brokers typically provide brokerage services as part of a suite of offerings tailored to high-net-worth clients, which may include retirement planning and asset management. Notable full-service brokers include established firms like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

These larger brokerage firms often maintain an inventory of shares for sale to their customers, which serves to mitigate exchange fees and facilitate swift access to commonly traded stocks. Conversely, some full-service brokers function as agency brokers, meaning they do not hold inventory but instead act as intermediaries to secure optimal trade executions for their clients.

For instance, consider a scenario where a high-net-worth individual, Amy, wishes to place a substantial buy order for Tesla Inc. (TSLA) stock. Amy would communicate her instructions to her broker, specifying, let’s say, a purchase of 10,000 shares. Given the significant value of the order, Amy feels reassured delegating the trade execution to her broker.

Upon receiving the order, the broker will attempt to fulfill it promptly from their inventory. If the requested shares are unavailable, they may acquire them from exchanges or other brokerages. The broker might opt to execute the order in smaller increments, such as 500 to 1,000 shares at a time, ensuring a smooth transaction process for Amy once the funds settle.

What Exactly Does a Broker Do?

A broker plays a pivotal role in connecting individuals/companies with the exchanges where the broker holds a license. The broker’s function varies depending on the trade’s nature and the marketplace involved. In some cases, the broker may be a human actively managing the trade, while in others, it could be a computer program overseen by a human operator. Generally, stock trades are executed electronically, while transactions like real estate often demand a more hands-on, personal approach.

Do Brokers Make Money?

Certainly, brokers do earn income. The earnings of a broker are contingent on various factors, primarily the value of the clients they serve or if they represent businesses like commercial real estate owners and sellers. For instance, a typical stockbroker may receive both a base salary and commissions on the trades they handle, with an average annual salary hovering around $74,000.

What Is a Broker and Why Do I Need One?

A broker acts as a middleman connecting individuals interested in trading and investing with the exchanges where these transactions take place.

Brokers are necessary because stock exchanges mandate that individuals executing trades hold licenses. Additionally, brokers play a crucial role in facilitating seamless trading interactions between investors and exchanges. Many brokers, including discount brokers, typically do not levy commissions for regular trades, enhancing the trading experience for investors.

Do Stock Brokers Make Good Money?

Stockbrokers typically earn a substantial income. While the average salary in the United States is about $58,000, stockbrokers command an average salary of approximately $73,000, which is notably higher. Nonetheless, this figure might disappoint those envisioning multi-million-dollar earnings.

How Do You Become a Broker?

Becoming a broker hinges on several key factors. Initially, possessing a background or degree in finance or economics proves immensely advantageous. While this background may attract attention, obtaining the necessary licenses is essential to securing employment and effectively carrying out the duties of a broker.


Brokers earn a decent income by overseeing transactions throughout the day to facilitate smooth exchanges between their clients and the markets. While brokers have the option to execute trades in person, they typically monitor transactions using their computers. Their intervention is primarily required for exceptionally large or distinctive trades.

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