Just like real estate agents, stockbrokers often want you to believe that you can't make any transactions without their help. In fact, you don't need a broker to buy shares of stock in a company. A broker can however, maintain an open brokerage account for you, through which you can trade stock in numerous companies easily and quickly. Buying your own U.S.-held stocks can be time-consuming.
1. Research the company in which you are interested in buying shares. Use the Edgar database available to the public to preview company financial records and standings. Watch the market price of the stock to determine the best time to buy.
2. Contact the company's investor relations department. You may purchase shares directly through the company or the representative will provide you with the agent that handles the company stock.
3. Send your payment directly to the business or to the company's agent and request a paper certificate that shows the number of shares that you purchased. Keep a receipt of the purchase, which should show how much you paid for each share.
4. Find a private seller through family, friends or business contacts. Stock certificates are like car titles in that they can be sold and signed over to a new owner. When you purchase stocks directly from the owner, the owner of the stocks must contact her registered stock agent or the company that issued the stock and have the shares officially transferred to your name through a number of forms and documents. Once the paperwork is completed, new stocks will be issued directly to you in your name.
- By receiving certificates and holding the stock in your possession, you often can use the investment as collateral for a loan with easy access to the proof of your financial value, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- If you want to sell your shares, you most likely will have to send the certificates back to the agent and wait until the transfer is made before you can receive funds. Additionally, if you lose the certificate, the agent or the company may charge you a replacement fee.
- Beware of scams promoted by some companies that claim to sell stocks in microcap companies, or businesses that are too small to qualify for the SEC regulated stock exchanges. You can purchase stocks directly from small companies, but you won't find them listed on the stock exchange market filings. Instead, they may be listed under OTC, or on the over-the-counter bulletin board. Small cap investments may be legitimate but are more open to fraud since they are not regulated as closely as NASDAQ and American Stock Exchange securities.
Items you will need
- Edgar database
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images