That’s the issue in a USA Today financial column — how can you tell whether your broker is doing a good job for you? For people who are trying to play the markets, that’s a real issue. Is a stock touted by the broker a good deal?
For people following a sensible strategy of “buy and hold index funds,” that’s never a worry. You’re typically buying from a no-load source such as Vanguard or Fidelity. And you’re not trying to figure out what’s good or what’s bad — you’re just buying a little piece of all of it. For more on this strategy, go look at this.
It’s really this simple: The more you know about financial markets, the less you will try to play them. The less you know about financial markets, the less you should try to play them. Playing financial markets is a losing game for most of the half-informed people who try, and only a winning game for people with inside information or superior trading access.