10 Basic Principles for Online Investing

When You Invest Online, Be Sure To

  1. Obtain full disclosure, prior to opening an account, regarding alternatives for buying and selling securities and obtaining account information if you can't access the firm's Web site.
  2. Understand that you likely are not linked directly to the market and that the click of your mouse does not instantly execute a trade.
  3. Receive information from the firm to substantiate any advertised claims concerning the ease and speed of online trading.
  4. Receive information regarding the firm's Web site, including how to proceed during significant outages, delays, and other interruptions to securities trading and account access.
  5. Obtain information before trading about entering and canceling orders (market, limited and stop loss) and the details and risks of margin accounts (borrowing to buy stocks).
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  1. Determine whether you are receiving delayed or real-time stock quotes and when your account information last was updated.
  2. Review the firm's privacy and Web site security policies, including whether your name may be used for mailing lists or other promotional activities by the firm or any other party.
  3. Receive clear information regarding commissions and fees and conditions that apply to any advertised commission.
  4. Know how to, and if necessary, contact a customer service representative with your concerns and request prompt attention and fair consideration.
  5. Contact the Montana State Auditor's Securities Department to: (a) verify the registration/licensing status and disciplinary history of the online brokerage firm; (b) find out if the investment is permitted to be sold; and (c) file a complaint, if necessary.

Source: www.state.mt.us/sao