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Stock Broker: Meaning, Purpose, Types, & More

As a trader, understanding the role of an online stock broker is crucial. A stock broker is your link to the financial markets. 

They connect buyers and sellers of stocks, offering crucial features, data, and real-time insights to enable informed decision-making.

With various types of brokers available, from traditional to online platforms, choosing the right one aligns with your trading goals. 

Let’s dive into the stock broker meaning, purpose, types, and more.

Who is a Stock Broker?

A stock broker is an individual or a firm that helps individuals and investors buy and sell stocks (shares) in financial markets. 

They act as intermediaries, facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers of stocks. Stock brokers can work for brokerage firms or operate independently. 

Their primary role is to execute orders to buy or sell stocks on behalf of their clients and provide them with market information and in some cases, advice. 

Stock brokers may also offer additional services such as research, investment guidance, and portfolio management. They earn commissions or brokerage fees for their services.

What Does a Stock Broker Do: Purpose?

The purpose of a stock broker is to provide a platform and services that enable individuals and institutional clients to trade securities in the financial markets.

Some other significant roles of a stockbroker are:

1. Link Between Markets and Individuals

A stock broker acts as a bridge between individuals and financial markets. They facilitate the buying and selling of stocks and other financial instruments, providing a platform for individuals to participate in trading activities. 

Serving as intermediaries, brokers play an important role in connecting investors with the broader market, enabling seamless transactions and investment activities. 

This intermediary function is essential for individuals as individuals themselves can not directly buy and sell securities on their own – they need to go through an intermediary by law, which is a stock broker.

2. Offers Features for Trading & Investing

Stock brokers provide tools and features for investors to trade and invest easily. Through online platforms and the new-age “mobile trading app”, they offer user-friendly interfaces to execute transactions. 

These tools enable investors to buy or sell financial instruments like stocks and bonds.

Additionally, brokers provide research reports and resources to help investors make well-informed decisions about their investments. 

Overall, they offer a range of features that simplify the trading and investing process for individuals in the financial markets.

3. Access to Real-Time Data & Insights

Stock brokers provide real-time market information and insights to help investors make informed decisions. 

Through their platforms, investors gain access to up-to-the-minute data, including stock prices, news, and research reports. 

This timely information is crucial for understanding market trends and dynamics, enabling investors to react quickly to changes and optimize their trading and investment strategies. 

Brokers act as a valuable source of live market intelligence, empowering clients to stay informed and navigate financial markets effectively.

4. Record Keepers of All Demat Transactions

Stock brokers serve as record keepers of all dematerialized (Demat) transactions. 

In the digital era, securities are held electronically, and brokers maintain these records. 

Demat transactions involve the conversion of physical share certificates into electronic form, simplifying the process of buying, selling, and managing investments. 

The broker’s role in record-keeping ensures the efficient and secure management of client’s investment portfolios, allowing easy tracking of ownership and transactions in the financial markets.

5. Call & Trade + Advisory Services

Stock brokers provide additional services like “Call & Trade,” allowing clients to place orders via phone. 

They may also offer advisory services, providing insights and recommendations to assist investors in decision-making. 

These personalized services go beyond standard trading platforms, serving individuals who seek guidance or prefer traditional communication channels. 

Investors can benefit from expert advice and assistance, enhancing their overall trading and investment experience through the broker’s supplementary offerings.

Types of Stock Brokers

Now that you understand what a stockbroker does, let’s explore the kinds you’ll find. Stockbrokers fall into two main categories:

1. Full-Service Brokers

Full-service brokers or traditional brokers in India offer a comprehensive range of services beyond trade execution.

Alongside executing trades, they provide personalized financial advice, trade planning, portfolio management, and research services. 

While their fees are relatively higher compared to discount brokers, traders who value professional guidance, research support, and a broader suite of financial services often opt for these brokers.

2. Discount Brokers

Discount brokers in India, such as Dhan, focus on cost-effective stock trading services. 

They streamline operations by primarily providing online platforms for self-directed trading without extensive advisory services. 

With a transparent fee structure, these brokers charge lower brokerage fees, and some even offer zero brokerage on certain transactions. 

Targeting cost-conscious traders who prefer independent decision-making and online trading, discount brokers appeal to those seeking affordability and simplicity in their stock market transactions.

Example of a Stock Broker

One example of a stock broker is dhan, which is your online stock broker platform. 

Dhan is a SEBI-registered stock broker and depository participant (DP) that offers trading and investing in equity, derivatives, commodity, and currency. 

Boasting 5+ products including a mobile trading app, web trading platform, charting platform, and India’s first-ever dedicated platform for F&O traders, Dhan is one of India’s fastest-growing stock trading platforms.

Who Regulates Stock Brokers in India?

In India, stock brokers are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). It is the head regulatory authority of the securities market. 

SEBI ensures fair and transparent dealings between all parties involved in the stock market, primarily through stringent regulations and requirements. 

Apart from maintaining the integrity of the market, SEBI’s regulations serve to protect the everyday trader and investor at all times.

These regulations have helped shape the face of the Indian securities market and lift it from the testing times of the early 1990s.

Why were the 1990s testing, you ask?

The lack of regulatory frameworks and inadequate investor protection measures meant that the Indian securities market was open to manipulation and malpractice.

The subsequent establishment of SEBI in 1992 marked a significant turning point in terms of regulation, transparency, and investor safeguards. 

How to Become a Stock Broker in India?

Becoming a stock broker for individuals and firms varies. In India, becoming a stock broker involves several steps:

  • Educational Qualifications: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field.
  • Gain Knowledge: Acquire a strong understanding of financial markets and trading strategies.
  • Internship/Experience: Seek internships or work experience in the financial industry to gain practical knowledge.
  • Pursue Relevant Certifications: Obtain necessary certifications, such as NISM Series VIII (Equity Derivatives) and NISM Series XA (Mutual Fund Distributors).
  • Register with SEBI: Complete the registration process with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

On the other side to open a brokerage firm In India, there are several steps:

  • Business Structure: Choose a suitable business structure (Private Limited Company, LLP, etc.) and register the firm with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • SEBI Registration: Apply for SEBI registration by submitting the required documents and complying with the eligibility criteria. This includes net worth requirements, infrastructure setup, and compliance with SEBI regulations.
  • Infrastructure Setup: Establish a robust technological infrastructure, including trading platforms, risk management systems, and communication networks.
  • Financial Requirements: Meet the minimum capital requirements set by SEBI. Ensure compliance with financial norms and maintain a separate client fund account.
  • Operational Compliance: Comply with all operational and compliance requirements, including Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations, and periodic reporting to regulatory authorities.

Difference Between Stock Brokers and Sub Brokers

FeatureStock BrokersSub Brokers
Primary RoleExecute trades on behalf of clients, offer advisory services, and provide a range of financial services.Act as intermediaries between clients and stock brokers, facilitating client onboarding, order placement, and account management.
Authorized by SEBIYes, stock brokers need to be registered with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).Yes, sub brokers operate under the registration and authorization of a SEBI-registered stock broker.
IndependenceOperate independently and directly interact with clients.Work under the umbrella of a registered stock broker and are affiliated with them.
Client InteractionDirectly interact with clients, offering personalized advice and services.Interact with clients to facilitate account opening, trade execution, and basic services, but do not provide extensive advisory services.
Fee StructureCharge brokerage fees and may have additional charges for advisory services.Earn a commission from the stock broker they are affiliated with, based on the trades executed by clients referred through them.
Regulatory ComplianceSubject to SEBI regulations and must comply with ethical and legal standards.Need to adhere to SEBI regulations and the guidelines set by the stock broker they are associated with.


Stock brokers play a vital role as share market brokers, helping people buy and sell stocks.

They provide valuable advice, assist with transactions, and ensure the smooth functioning of the stock market.

Stock brokers make investing in the share market accessible and understandable for individuals, contributing to financial growth and stability.

Overall, their services are crucial for navigating the complex world of stocks and investments.