Investment Club Broker SurveyMost investment clubs eventually need the services of a brokerage firm in order to buy and sell stocks. If you're making your own investment decisions, you probably won't need the services -- or the high commissions -- of a full-service broker. The new breed of online brokers offer an array of services at cut-rate commissions, often as low as $8 per trade. But clubs often have special needs, beyond getting low commissions on trades. Services like free checkwriting or dual passwords can tip the scales in favor of one firm over another.
Unfortunately, not all online brokers are created equal, and there's probably no single perfect broker for investment clubs. This survey looks at the costs and features of some of the more popular online discount brokers, and allows you to rank them in order of the criteria that's most important to your club.
Remember that things can change fast in the online world. Before choosing an online broker, visit the company web site. Explore, read the fine print and e-mail them with questions to get a feel for their customer service. Online trading of stocks has grown so fast and the technology is so new that even the best run online web sites can have problems when the herd runs wild!