Clark is often asked about the best brokers and has compiled his own list of top notch brokerages, based in part on a compilation of rankings from SmartMoney and Kiplinger's magazines.
First up is Fidelity, a huge financial house that has an extremely wide range of services available but at higher than normal discount broker commissions. Expect to pay around $7.95 a trade.
Three firms received identical rankings for second place: Muriel Siebert is somewhat invisible as a discount broker, but people seem to like using it. A typical trade is $14.95. Charles Schwab has a very comprehensive product line as well. Schwab's typical trade is $8.95. TD Waterhouse ranks very high in the magazine surveys, but has been a source of complaints from time to time on our show. Clark has had a small account with Waterhouse for five years and has never experienced a problem. Trades are now $9.95.
With the top four, as with any discount broker, you can buy and sell mutual funds without paying a commission. They're called "no transaction fee fund purchases." But the one advantage to Fidelity, Charles Schwab and Waterhouse is their extensive network of local branches.