Broker Dealer

Broker-Dealer Definition

A broker-dealer can be considered as a single entity person, company or any other business organization who basically deals with the business of trading and execution of financial securities, stocks, commodities or derivatives on behalf of its own or of its customers for which it charges certain commission which is the main source of income.


A layman’s language broker-dealer is simply a person or a business firm who helps investors buy sell securities, offer them intelligent information regarding trade, and help them book profits while, in return, charge a certain amount of fees like commission, which are their main source of revenue generation. Nowadays, with the advent of technology, broker-dealers have also gone online where an investor without even speaking to them can buy, sell securities, and book profits, and in the same way as offline brokers here too, the marginal commission is deducted from the profit the investor makes. There is a thin line of difference between broker and dealer though; a broker supports security trade on behalf of the investor, a dealer, on the other hand, engages in trading activities on behalf of it.


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Types of Broker-Dealers

Types of Broker-Dealers

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  • Wirehouse: This type of broker-dealer generally operates on a big scale and has a large and expanded service. They typically have their own set of products which they further sell to their customers and make money on the same.
  • Independent: They perform more of an agency or the relationship of an agent. They are independent contractors to the customers and generally sell products that are not owned by it but are procured from outside. They help the customer to connect to such outside products, buy and sell them and book the profits. In return, they charge the customer with a certain margin or commission based on the overall trade.


Roles of a Broker Dealer

  1. They act as the intermediary between investors and the company where one wants to invest.
  2. They also play a key role in helping a company raise their finance in the form of capital requirements.
  3. Dealers are the ones who act on the stance of the brokerage firm itself and initiate the transaction for the account of the firm.
  4. They play a key role in providing liquidity to securities by supporting the trade of securities in a free market and, at times, make transactions, i.e., Buy or sell securities from their accounts to ensure the marketability of the security.
  5. They also get themselves involved in the underwriting processUnderwriting ProcessThe underwriters take the financial risk of their client in return of a financial fee. Market Makers like financial institution and large banks ensure that there is enough amount of liquidity in the market by ensuring that enough trading volume is more of the securities concerned.

How to Become a Broker-Dealer?

There are overall five steps of becoming an independent broker-dealer which are as follows:

  1. Obtain necessary certificates and licenses from the federal and state

    The first and foremost step here is to obtain necessary certificates and licenses from the federal and state, which will give permit the person or business to deal with investment products. These generally vary in accordance with the type of product on is involved with. Along with this, the broker-dealer has to pass a certain level of examination, which is compulsory for selling any kind of security on a direct basis to the client or customer.

  2. Become a registered member of FINRA

    The next step requires you to become a registered member of FINRA, i.e., Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which acts as a regulator or any other self-regulatory organization.

  3. Become a member of the SIPC

    The third process is that you have to become a member of the SIPC or Securities Investor Protection Corporation. SIPC helps investors to be compensated in case of the investment company goes bankrupt or becomes solvent.

  4. Provide an application form, also called the BD form.

    The fourth step is to provide an application form, also called the BD form, for every state where the broker has made a strategy to sell its products. This form is provided to the SEC, which helps to identify the broker’s personal information like contact and if there is any conflict of interest.

  5. Adhere to any pending formalities of any state where the broker plans to sell its product.

    The final step is to adhere to any pending formalities of any state where the broker plans to sell its product and thus duly complete the certifications if required. SEC has a complete set of guidelines pertaining to all the formalities which may vary state to state, and the broker-dealer has to duly follow that.


As of 2019 data, the average salary of an independent broker-dealer working for a firm can be around $90,000 per year. It can also go as high as $180,000 based on the experience and expertise one possesses. The primary way they make money is via the brokerage fees too. It is the fee charged for executing a trade. A full-time serviceable broker can charge anything close to 2% of the total transaction money. On the other hand, the online broker charges comparatively less, which may be like $5 – $20 on a trade to trade basis.


Broker-dealer are the key people one will interact with when it comes to our investing needs. They are on a paid basis but duly help the customers to execute the trade and also make money. They also offer intelligent advice based on their experience so that the customers don’t end up losing money. They make sure that the portfolio of the customer is built in the most efficient manner where there is ample scope of diversification too.

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