Stock broker

Quick definition

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Updated: Jan 11, 2024

A stock broker is a professional or firm that executes buy and sell orders for stocks and other securities on behalf of investors in exchange for a fee or commission.

Key details

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  • A stock broker executes buying and selling of stocks and other securities on stock exchanges on behalf of clients
  • Offers individual investors access to financial markets, which they wouldn’t have without a brokerage account
  • Many stock brokers also provide financial advice, market research, and investment planning services, especially full-service brokers

What is a stock broker?

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A stock broker is a professional entity, either an individual or a firm, that acts as an intermediary between investors and the stock market. They facilitate the buying and selling of stocks and other securities on behalf of their clients.

Stock brokers are essential for individual investors who want to engage with the stock market, as they provide the necessary access and tools to execute trades.

How does a stock broker work?

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A stock broker operates by taking orders from clients to buy or sell stocks and then executing these orders in the stock market. Here’s a simple breakdown of the process:

  1. Account opening: Investors start by opening a brokerage account with the broker.
  2. Funding the account: Investors deposit money into their brokerage account.
  3. Placing orders: Investors instruct the broker to buy or sell stocks, usually through an online platform provided by the broker.
  4. Execution of orders: The broker then places these orders in the stock exchange. When a match is found for the buy or sell order, the trade is executed.
  5. Reporting: The broker reports back to the investor with the details of the transaction and updates their account holdings and balance accordingly.

What types of stock broker are there?

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Here are a few of the different types of stock broker:

  • Full-Service brokers: These brokers provide a wide range of services including investment advice, research, and retirement planning, in addition to buying and selling stocks. They are usually more expensive due to the comprehensive services they offer.
  • Discount brokers: Discount brokers primarily provide the tools for executing trades but offer fewer additional services. They are preferred for their lower fees and are suitable for investors who prefer to make their own trading decisions without much guidance.
  • Online brokers: These are a type of discount broker that operates predominantly online. They offer user-friendly platforms for investors to manage their investments and execute trades directly.
  • Robo-advisors: These are automated platforms that use algorithms to manage investor portfolios. They offer simple, low-cost investment management services, making them suitable for passive investors.


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James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.