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Retail Brokerage

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A brokerage that primarily serves retail investors rather than institutional investors is referred to as a retail brokerage. Most retail brokerage firms have an extensive branch network. Registered representatives who work for these retail brokerage firms are expected to market their services directly to individual investors and offer investment advice. Four types of firms compete in the retail brokerage industry. National full-service regional brokerage firms such as Merrill Lynch are popular with investors who want financial planning help. There are also regional full-service retail brokerage firms with a dominant presence in certain geographic markets. Retail brokerage firms that operating entirely on-line such as ETrade are popular with investors who trade frequently and want low trading costs. There are also "clicks and bricks" retail brokerage firms such as Charles Schwab who combine an extensive branch network with a significant on-line presence.



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