Global Online Investing Industry
The global online investing industry (part of the wider online finance sector) provides for self-directed investing, allowing traders and investors to use online services to invest. An increasing number of brokers offer unique trading platforms online, giving investors a convenient way of following global financial markets. Successful investors need to have precise knowledge regarding markets and investing.
Online trading platforms facilitate the purchase and sale of various securities, including mutual funds, options, equities and fixed income. Online investing is a cheaper alternative to traditional investment methods, though investors do pay commissions for online investing. The amount of these commissions depends on each individual broker and the services used.
Though online investing is highly accessible and a convenient service for investors, it does carry a certain degree of risk. Investors have to undertake extensive research to invest intelligently and to choose the right broker service. Investment fraud represents a significant obstacle to industry growth, along with the threat posed by identity and information theft.
Security will dictate industry growth to an important degree moving forward, with increasing pressure on brokers to cut down the risk to the consumer of providing financial information online. Consumers are increasingly vigilant due to rising awareness of the risk involved. Investors also have to be sure to verify the credentials of any brokers or company they deal with to minimize the risk of fraud.
Investors willing to carry out research can turn the internet into an important investing tool. The US Securities and Exchange Commission helps the US online investing industry by maintaining an online complaint center that tries to identify fraudulent online financial outfits. The North American Securities Administration Association and the National Association of Securities Dealers are also involved in seeing that industry players adhere to the guidelines in place.
Online investing activities are affected by market highs and lows, and the global economic environment. While investors can consult their online investment accounts at any time, real-time investments and trading remain constrained by stock market hours in the same way as traditional investing.
Leading online brokers currently operating in the online investing industry include Scottrade, IDealing, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade. Hybrid brokers such as Schwab combine traditional investing with online investing, providing their customers with both brick-and-mortar brokerage houses and online trading.