There are many kinds of brokers – not just the stockbroker type that facilitates your stock purchases and sale. There are business brokers, commodities brokers, futures brokers, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, online brokers, real estate brokers, stockbrokers, and ticket brokers, among others.

Brokers facilitate your purchases and sales from products and services to stocks and equities, and businesses. For example, when corporations want to purchase a stake in another company, they will need a business broker to lay down the groundwork for the acquisition. The broker scans the environment for the best buys and makes recommendations to the client. Businessmen often rely on these brokers, especially when they are entering or expanding into a relatively new industry. Brokers have a wide range of networks that are useful for business partners, investors, or areas for growth.

Becoming a broker requires training and keen strategic and planning skills. Brokers are also well versed in their areas of expertise. They keep their ears to the ground and are often the first to know about corporate developments. Clients rely on their analyses and often risk large amounts of money on the basis of their advice and recommendations.

Many businesses depend on many types of brokers. A manufacturing company may have a business broker to serve as a consultant for acquisitions or joint ventures. It may also rely on a freight broker to arrange and provide for its logistical needs. But you need not be company owner or millionaire to require the services of a broker. If you invest in stocks or bonds, you may need to keep just one stockbroker to manage your stock portfolio. He can give you sound advice on when and what to buy or sell.

Each broker, by the nature of the job, gives out a personalized service to cater to a client’s unique requirements. Retaining a broker will prove to be an important and necessary decision, especially for businesses that always need to keep track of their environments.

Brokerage Firms

Brokerage firms facilitate the trading of stocks, commodities and currencies by providing opportunities to the interested sellers and buyers for a specified fee. These firms also provide borrowing facilities against an underlying asset to enhance liquidity in the markets and to spur trading.

Brokerages are required to register with a recognized exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. Exchanges are meant to regulate trading in their role as the guarantor of final settlement between a buyer and seller. Further, exchanges also regulate trading to ensure that the game is played by the rules. Therefore, exchanges and brokerages inspire confidence in traders and in turn ensure smooth functioning of the markets.

Big banks, hedge funds, mutual funds and insurance companies are key players in the financial markets. Banks usually play a key role in currency markets, where the private players are not allowed to buy and sell currencies directly from the open markets. Banks also act as stock brokers in addition to investing money in the markets. Banks may also be active in the trading of commodities like gold and silver on exchanges.

With the advent of internet-based exchange trading, the brokerage business is growing at a fast clip. With online discount brokerages such as E*Trade, anyone interested in “day trading” can log in from anywhere and begin to trade, provided that they have access to the Internet. This increased access to the markets has in turn led to a phenomenal increase in exchange-based trading transactions, particularly by small players who had limited access before the arrival of web-based trading. The trend is often seen wherever small players are allowed to participate in trading, and has been hailed by many as the “democratization” of the financial markets.

Best Forex Trading

FOREX, popularly known as Foreign Exchange Market, refers to an international exchange market wherein currencies are purchased and sold. The Foreign Exchange Market that is seen today started in the 1970′s, when free exchange rates and floating currencies were established. In such an atmosphere, only participants in the market decide on the rate of one currency against another, depending upon the supply and demand of that currency.

The concept of best Forex trading differs from investor to investor, as human judgment is influenced by temperament and emotions. Hence different features of FOREX trading appeal to them. FOREX is a unique market for several reasons. First of all, some investors find FOREX as the best trading market because it is one of the markets that it is devoid of external controls and that cannot be influenced.

It is also the major liquid money market, with trading between 1 and 1.5 trillion US dollars every day. With so much money moving so fast, it is understood why a single investor would find it nearly impossible to drastically affect the price of a major currency. Some other investors find currency trading the best because the liquidity of the market implies that unlike some infrequently traded stock, traders are able to open and close positions within a few seconds as there are constantly willing buyers and sellers.

Another rather distinguishing feature of the FOREX market that appeals to investors is the variance of its participants. Investors have numerous reasons to enter the market. Some enter as long-term hedge investors, while some use huge credit lines to look for large short-term profits.

Dealings in the FOREX market are not centralized and therefore take place by means of telecommunications. FOREX trading is open 24 hours a day from Sunday to Friday afternoon.

Marginal trading is merely the expression used for trading with borrowed capital.
For some investors, this factor proves to be an appealing one because in FOREX, investments can be made without a real currency supply.

Best CD Rates

Certificate of deposits with longer maturity periods pay higher rates than those with shorter maturities. It could be said that the best CD rates have the longest maturities. Some investors believe that a certificate of deposit is the best and safest investment. Others invest in a certificate of deposit to supplement their retirement income. Regardless of the reason, all types of investors want to earn the highest CD rates i.e., best CD rates.

In order to achieve best CD rates, investors need to shop around either online, through newspapers, banners on local institutions, or with the help of brokerage firms to find out which banks and credit unions offer best CD rates all the time. Before purchasing CDs that offer best rates, customers need to consider two factors, the length of the maturity period and the current interest rate environment. Investors who lock up their money in long term CDs will earn a better rate of interest than those who buy short term CDs. This is due to the fact that when customers purchase CDs with longer maturity periods, they commit their funds in the investment for the entire maturity period before they can withdraw. The investor foregoes alternative courses of investment. For all these risks that investors experience, banks pay best CD rates on such units. Similarly bulk buying also fetches investors best rate because banks may insist on meeting minimum requirement for offering best rates.

It is not advisable for the investor to stay with the same bank for more than one year. By sticking with the same bank, investors lose the chance of getting the highest and best CD rates offered by other banks and credit unions. Generally, the interest rates offered by credit unions, which are non-profit organizations, are the best when compared to those offered by commercial banks.

Become a Financial Planner

To become a financial planner, you first must know what their job profile is. Financial planners help in determining the financial resources required to meet the company’s operating program. They also help in forecasting the extent to which these requirements will be met by the internal generation of funds, and the extent to which they will be met from external sources. It’s the job of financial planners to develop the best plans to obtain the required external funds. They also help in establishing and maintaining a system of financial control governing the allocation and use of funds. Financial planners formulate programs to provide the most effective cost-volume-profit relationship. It’s the job of financial planners to analyze the financial results of operations, report the facts to the top management and make recommendations on future operations of the firm.

To do all these functions efficiently, financial planners first need to establish the financial objectives of the enterprise. Both long-term and short-term objectives should be established for the effective utilization of the financial resources. Then comes the next step of formulating policies. Policies are broad guidelines. Financial policies relate to procurement, administration and distribution of business funds. The next step financial planners have to do is to formulate procedures. Procedures are the specific order of doing things. They are formed for ensuring consistency of actions. In financial procedures, the financial executives decide about the control system, develop standards of performance and evaluate the performance. Lastly, they have to forecast the future. In order to take proper action to achieve the objectives established, it is necessary to know the future positions. This is facilitated by forecasting the future.

While doing these activities, financial planners must take into perspective the cost of finance and nature of business. In any assessment of the financial needs of the firm, the cost of finance is the basic criterion. This is so because only projects with net positive cash flow can be selected.

Bank Trust Investments

Bank trust investments are emerging as a major source of investments in the financial market. They compliment investment firms as one of the sources for investing money for profit. Some of the banks are able to make huge profits in this field. Most of the banks offer services for managing the assets of trusts these days. These trusts can be of various types, such as charitable trust, corporate trust, personal trusts etc.

The bank acts as a custodian of assets owned by the trust. The assets may include cash, equities and other investments. The banks manage these investments and often make new investments on behalf of the trust. As many trusts have huge financial resources, which need to be managed properly to make them self-sustainable, the services of professionally qualified experts are needed to manage these financial assets. Most of the good banks offer these services for a fixed fee or on a commission basis. Sometime they charge both.

Bank trust investments are generally made in gilt-edged securities or other government securities, which are relatively safer. These investments are made not for short-term gains but for ensuring a steady stream of income in the long run. The banks keep the trustees and other parties informed about all major decisions related to investments on their behalf. The market risk is generally borne by the trust only.

But there have been several scams in the past related to bank trust investments all over the world. So one has to be careful before giving a bank charge of one’s trust.

Art Portfolios

An art portfolio reflects the artistx92s vision and represents his or her technical and artistic skills. The artistx92s understanding of the technical aspects as well as the business and the seriousness of art are judged through the portfolio. Thus, the portfolio of an artist plays an essential role in deciding the success of the artist and evaluating the business. An impressive art portfolio can ensure the acceptance by renowned art colleges and win scholarships for the artist.

In order to develop an interesting art portfolio, an artist should maintain a diversity of illustrated subjects. The work may represent independent projects, classroom assignments, or selected pieces from a sketchbook. They could be displayed through any medium, such as watercolors, pastels, photographs, or oil. Although submission of a minimum of ten pieces of art work is recommended by most of the prestigious art colleges, it is essential not to compromise the quality of the work.

Apart from maintaining diversity to ensure the right impression, art portfolios must be clear and properly organized. The artist should ensure that the paintings are well dried, before including them in the portfolio. They need to be labeled properly, including the name and address of the artist.

Only the best work of the artist, presented and organized professionally, can ensure an impressive art portfolio. There has to be continuity in the flow of the artistx92s vision. The portfolio needs to have a proper introduction, thanking all the reviewers and discussing the artist and the work. Prior knowledge about the gallery and the kind of art it represents can also help in ensuring a proper portfolio. The creation and the presentation of a portfolio help the artist to reach a wider audience and potential customers.

Annuity Calculators

When an employee retires, the employer offers monetary retirement benefits such as pension and cash balance plan, as a gesture of gratitude for the employee’s service.

Many people like to invest their retirement package in an insurance company, on the condition that their money is paid to them back on a regular basis. They `buy’ this arrangement, known as an `Annuity,’ from the insurance company. By going in for an annuity, the investor is assured of a regular income through retirement, or thereafter to his heirs. But this income, usually monthly, is based on the payment option that he chooses.

Though an annuity offers a regular monthly income to the investor, it cannot meet his immediate financial needs, like buying a home. In such circumstances people think, “Which is better, receiving a large amount of money today after paying taxes, or receiving an annuity as monthly payments for many years and paying taxes each year?” Let’s sort the dilemma out by considering an example as follows.

James wins $1 million in a lottery. The lottery company asks him to choose from the two options: a lump sum payment once, or annual payments of $75,000 for 30 years. Let the rate of income tax be 30%. If he chooses the first, his after-tax amount is $700,000. If he chooses the second, receiving $75,000 every year for 30 years, its income is far less considering inflation, tax and other unpredictable factors for the 30 years period. Obviously, the first option is better.

Accredited banks, insurance firms and finance companies and their websites have ready online annuity calculators to help investors make a good choice.

Annuity Brokers

Potential annuity holders need to shop around for insurance companies to know the rates of return available on different types of annuities. People may seek the help of annuity brokers. These brokers help potential buyers obtain information about insurance companies, premium investments and the performance of the investments in the market, etc.

Most annuity brokers maintain high standards of honor and loyalty, promoting just and equitable principles of trade. The annuity brokers are required to disclose all information to the buyer about the risk involved in taking on a particular annuity, the charges involved and the company’s financial information. They are not supposed to use any fraudulent device or malpractice to induce the buyer to invest in high-risk annuities.

The most popular annuity broker company is Annuity Advantage. Their brokers provide annuity rates and quotes covering over 300 Commercial Deposit annuities, fixed deferred annuities, equity indexed annuities and immediate annuities of more than 30 top rated insurance companies. All these annuities have no market risk, providing a steady income to the annuity holders at periodic intervals of time. For instance, the amount obtained from the sale of fixed annuities will be invested in government securities and bonds that are low risk and offer a guaranteed rate of return.

Annuity Advantage brokers do not believe in variable annuities, as the rate of return on these annuities depends on the performance of underlying investments — often subject to market risk. Most of clients of these brokers are within 20 years of retirement.

Virtual Annuity and also provide counseling services and database to potential annuity investors about different types of insurance companies offering different types of annuities.

Angel Investor Groups

Angel investor groups are acquiring better acknowledgment as primary patrons in early-stage industry, attaining eminent rankings in industry-related annual surveys of private equity investment firms for entrepreneurs.

Angel assets are an up-and-coming part of the financial order, similar in significance to venture capital in the Seventies, according to experts in the field. Angel groups are starting to be viewed with importance by the present financial companies.

An important angel investor group is the Band of Angels, a formal assemblage of 100 current and former high-tech executives who put in their time and money into fresh, progressive startup companies. Band members have established reputed companies like Symantec, Logitech, and National Semiconductor.

Angels are characteristically high-net-worth persons or “cashed out” entrepreneurs who are involved in nurturing other entrepreneurs and are vigorously associated with the ventures they support, both pre-funding and post-funding. Recently, a growing number of angels have come together to develop angel groups, with a view toward putting together capital and investment proficiency. There are an estimated 200 such angel investor organizations in the United States.

Angel investor groups have emerged as important participants in offering equity capital to early-stage ventures. Angels have developed from investing as individuals and at times fashioning informal groups for particular investments, to forming official groups with vigorous venture-capital-like procedures.

With the venture capital society becoming more complicated, angel investor groups have also changed according to the needs of the new situation. A majority of present day angel investors are highly enlightened about investments, due to the presence of experienced angel groups who have common performances.

Any individual angel investor can obtain an immense advantage from the group’s expertise if he decides to become a part of a considerate group of angel investors.