Electronic trading is easy. Log in to your account. Select the security you wish to buy or sell. Click the mouse or tap your phone, and the transaction takes place. From an investor’s perspective, it’s simple and easy. But behind the scenes, it is a complex process backed by an impressive array of technology. What was once associated with shouting traders and wild hand gestures has now become more closely associated with statisticians and computer programmers.
First Step: Open an Account
The first step is to open an account with a brokerage firm. This can be done electronically or by completing and mailing the appropriate forms. You will need to provide personal information, such as your name and address, that enables the firm to identify you, along with a bit of information about your investing experience level. Then the firm can evaluate whether the account you are seeking is appropriate. For example, if you have no experience trading stocks but wish to open an account that lets you trade using borrowed money (margin account), your application may be denied. [Read more...]