Brokerage Services Buying Guide

“Whether you’re a seasoned investor, a newbie, or someone retesting the waters after a scary loss, financial services companies want your business.”

In this article, Consumer Reports evaluates a number of factors that investors should consider when choosing a brokerage firm to help them achieve their financial and investment goals.  Brokerage firms were rated for customer satisfaction.  (FYI, USAA was number 1 and Scottrade and Vanguard tied for second place.)  In addition to customer satisfaction ratings, other factors discussed in this article include

  • The amount of professional advice and if there were costs or requirements for free advice.
  • A discussion of retirement plans offered by various brokerage firms.
  • Steps you should take when choosing a brokerage firm.
  • Questions you should ask when choosing a brokerage firm.
  • Sales tactics that raise a “red” flag when choosing a brokerage firm.

For more information go to http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/brokerage-services/buying-guide.htm

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Point out to students that not all brokerage firms are the same and that the information in this article can help them choose the firm that can “best” help them obtain their investment goals.
  • Because this is a lengthy article, you may want to assign this as a homework assignment with students answering the questions below.

Discussion Questions

  1. What types of advice were offered by different brokerage firms?
  2. Did the information in the article help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of retirement plans?
  3. What specific steps should you take before choosing an advisor or a brokerage firms.
  4. What were some of the “red” flags you should watch for when choosing a brokerage firm?

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