While the stock market continues to gain momentum, the headlines boom with stories about day trading, after-hours trading and the much-discussed 24/7 trading. As the Internet increases exposure and awareness of the market, so does the need to self-broker stocks rather than hiring an investment broker or counselor.
The options for trading are greater than ever, and to survive in the marketplace, investment firms want a piece of the pie, providing customers with the tools they need to self-broker, while gently guiding their decisions along the way.
As a result, customers still look to firms for various attributes, and these firms are characterized by size and fee. For example, the full-service brokerage brings personal service, yet large commissions, while discount brokerages and professional day traders have their own characteristics. The main question to ask is whether a customer feels comfortable making his or her own decisions, relying on self-learned investment knowledge rather than seeking the help of an experienced professional.
One of the tools provided to self-motivated customers includes giving customers direct access to exchanges through the computer, much in the same way full-time traders at certain firms.