DEFINITION of 'Broker-Dealer'

A person or firm in the business of buying and selling securities, operating as both a broker and a dealer, depending on the transaction. The term broker-dealer is used in U.S. securities regulation parlance to describe stock brokerages, because most of them act as both agents and principals. A brokerage acts as a broker (or agent) when it executes orders on behalf of clients, whereas it acts as a dealer (or principal) when it trades for its own account.

BREAKING DOWN 'Broker-Dealer'

Broker-dealers fulfill several important functions in the financial industry; these include providing investment advice to customers, supplying liquidity through market-making activities, facilitating trading activities, publishing investment research and raising capital for companies. Broker-dealers may range in size from small independent boutiques to large subsidiaries of giant commercial and investment banks.

  1. Dealer

    A person or firm in the business of buying and selling securities ...
  2. Research Report

    A document prepared by an analyst or strategist who is a part ...
  3. Wire Room

    A financial institution's funds transfer operation, or its operating ...
  4. Full-Service Broker

    A broker that provides a large variety of services to its clients, ...
  5. Contra Broker

    A term used to describe the broker participating on the opposite ...
  6. Market Maker

    A broker-dealer firm that accepts the risk of holding a certain ...
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