Before making a securities investment, you must decide which brokerage firm – also referred to as a broker/dealer – and sales representative – also referred to as a stockbroker, account executive, or registered representative – to use.
Before making these decisions you should: Think through your financial goals and objectives.
Talk with potential sales representatives at several firms. Meet them face to face and ask each sales representative about his or her investment experience, professional background, and education.
Do your research. Find out if the representative and the Firm are registered with the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC). Visit the TTSEC’s corporate website, www.ttsec.org.tt for a full list of registrants with the Commission. Understand how the sales representative is paid. Firms generally pay sales staff based on the amount of money invested by a customer and the number of transactions done in a customer’s account. Ask what “fees” or “charges” you will be required to pay when opening, maintaining, and closing an account.
Determine the level of service you need. Some brokerage firms provide recommendations, investment advice, and research support, while others may not. The charges you pay may differ depending upon what services are provided by the firm.
Never invest in a product that you don’t fully understand. Consult information sources such as business and financial publications. Information regarding the fundamentals of investing and basic financial terminology, via our online glossary, can be found on our Investor Education Website, www.investucatett.com .
Ask your sales representative for the prospectus, offering circular, or most recent annual report. Read them.
If you have questions, talk with your sales representative before investing. You also may want to check with another brokerage firm, an accountant, or a trusted business adviser to get a second opinion about a particular investment you are considering.
Keep a record of all information you receive, copies of forms you sign, and conversations you have with your sales representative.
Part of making the right investment decision is finding the brokerage firm and the sales representative that best meet your personal financial needs. Do not rush. Resist salespeople who urge you to immediately open an account with them. A high pressured sales pitch can mean trouble. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you, “Invest now or you will miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission is not an investment adviser nor is it a brokerage house. This article is intended solely to provide you with the information you need to help you make sound investment decisions and to ensure that you are familiar with and understand your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of financial services. To lodge a complaint, ensure that you complete the prescribed complaint form located on the TTSEC website www.ttsec.org.tt.
Before investing, educate and empower yourself!
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