How to Choose a Broker for ETF Investments
You can’t personally buy a share of an ETF — you need someone to actually buy it for you and hold it for you. That someone is a broker, sometimes referred to as a brokerage house or a broker-dealer.
Here are the some things you want from any broker who is going to be holding your ETFs:
Reasonable prices. Comparing the prices at brokerage houses is anything but easy because each house identifies its own pricing criteria: Some base prices on how much money you have in your account or how many trades you make per quarter; others use that criteria but also consider the number of shares you trade at any particular point, and so on.
Good service (they pick up the phone without putting you through voicemail gymnastics) and good advice (if you think you’re going to need an expert opinion).
A user-friendly Web site (or, if you like doing business with real human beings, a service center near you).
Incentives for opening an account, which can run the gamut from a certain number of free trades to laptop computers.
Before choosing, always look at the entire brokerage package, which includes not only the price of trades but also total account fees.