Financial Dictionary -> General Finance -> Broker

A broker is the broad term that refers to an individual or company that acts as a middle man between a company that sells something or offers a service, and the buyer. They make their profit on fees from the buyer and commission from the company for referring the buyer.

Perhaps the most common form of broker is a mortgage broker, who may work directly or independently of the financial institutions and banks that offer the mortgages. Their job is to work with the borrower, finding them the best service for their needs, often promoting specifics packages from the banks for commission. Traditionally banks and financial institutions would sell their own mortgages and services, but today competition is so strong that specialized broker's are now commonplace.

To prevent wrongdoing most countries have regulations that broker's must adhere to. The most important being, that if advice given by the broker is inappropriate to the borrower or the financial institution because they just want to make a quick sale, they can be held liable for giving poor advice.

Other common brokers include insurance brokers that sell insurance policies, stockbrokers that act as intermediaries between investors and the stock market, real estate brokers or estate agents, which are the middleman between buying and selling property, and list brokers, who aid the marketing process with targeted mailing lists.

Against common belief those that execute the sale or purchase of securities or commodities on the trading floor are not brokers, they are simply sales staff. They do not actually broker any deal between the parties, just execute the transaction.