I recently read two articles that underlined how some major brokerages operate.
First off, Morgan Stanley
Did you catch that last word there? Commissions. That's an important word to consider when you think about how your broker may be serving you. If he or she is being compensated significantly by commissions based on investments sold to you or trades in your account, then your best interests may not be first and foremost on that broker's mind. The Morgan Stanley story suggests that the firm isn't interested in doing all it can to serve the small investor.
Meanwhile, over at Merrill Lynch
Investors, think about this.
Consider using a "discount" brokerage -- which doesn't aim to hold your hand and advise you how to invest. Instead, discounters offer low fees. The discount broker world has gotten a lot better in the last few years -- enough so that the word "discount" makes some wince. The differences between discounters such as Ameritrade
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Charles Schwab is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.