While an individual investor can go a long ways without professional help it would be a mistake
to think that service companies have nothing to offer. They have full time people who work
daily with financial matters and are tied in to the government regulations which can affect
your financial investments, or you ability to access them. You should spend some time examining
the various companies and deciding on which services are right for you.
These firms all share a common characteristic - they're big! Whether that's good or bad is
up to you to decide. Larger companies generally have more resources with which to provide
a wider variety of investment options and a greater depth of research for their clients.
Some larger companies suffer from higher fees and less personal attention to clients, but
usually the satisfaction of a client is more a matter of how much attention they're given
by their financial advisor as well as how well their investments perform. Whether small or large,
the skills and attention of the financial advisor are the key ingredient to providing
satisfaction to the investor.
A G Edwards & Sons
Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.
Brown Brothers Harriman
Charles Schwab & Co
Citigroup Global Markets Inc./Salomon Smith Barney Inc. (SSB)
Credit Suisse First Boston LLC
CS First Boston
Deutsche Bank Alex Brown
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
First Tennessee Bank
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
Lehman Brothers Inc.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.
Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter
PaineWebber Group Inc.
Prudential Securities Inc
Salomon Smith Barney/Citigroup
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc.
UBS Warburg LLC
Warburg Dillon Read
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Online Stock Trading
If you want to work via the web, here are some starting points. I also suggest you check out
this broker review. Before making any
decisions be sure to go to the broker's site to make sure you've made the decision on the
As best I know there are no full-service companies which will provide all the services you
need for pre-retirement and post-retirement planning. However, there are some companies out there
which offer limited, free services. Several are available only for qualified individuals, so
you'll have to check them out to see if you can benefit from their services.