Ten Tips for Online Investors
When You Invest Online, Be Sure To
- Receive full disclosure, prior to opening your account, about the alternatives for buying and selling securities and how to obtain account information if you cannot access the firm’s Web site.
- Understand that most likely you are not linked directly to the market, and that the click of your mouse does not instantly execute the trade.
- Receive information from the firm to substantiate any advertised claims concerning the ease and speed of online trading.
- Receive information on the firm’s Web site about significant outages, delays and other interruptions to securities trading and account access, and how to proceed under these circumstances.
- Obtain information before trading about entering and canceling orders (market, limit and stop loss), and the details and risks of margin accounts (borrowing to buy stocks).
- Determine whether you are receiving delayed or real-time stock quotes and when your account information was last updated.
- Review the firm’s privacy and Web site security policies and whether your name may be used for mailing lists or other promotional activities by the firm or any other party.
- Receive clear information about commissions and fees and conditions that apply to any advertised commission.
- Know how to, and if necessary, contact a customer service representative with your concerns and request prompt attention and fair consideration.
- Contact your state securities agency to (1) verify the registration/licensing status and disciplinary history of the online brokerage firm; (2) find out if the investment is permitted to be sold; and (3) file a complaint, if necessary.