No. of Recommendations: 0
It's a bit annoying that to be able to search for the widest range of bonds, you need an account with E*Trade or Zions; but to get the best price possible, you need an account with IB. But then with IB, you have the problems persistentone mentioned regarding the River Rock bonds.

folgore,

You should try to get your facts right before you try to draw conclusions from them.

How many hundreds of bond transactions have you done anywhere? Come on, tell me. How many hundreds have you done?

Do you now have (or have you had in the past) accounts with Schwab, E*Trade, Scottrade, Zions Direct, TD Waterhouse, BrownCo, Fidelity, Interactive Brokers, Datek, etc. plus a couple of bond boutiques whose names I don't remember?

If I say that E*Trade and Zions are the current, best places to do searches, but IB can be a far better place to execute, then those are the facts. But they are not all of the facts, nor, necessarily, the most important ones.

If you want agencies, IB won't quote you. If you want converts, IB won't quote you. Even if IB is quoting a bond that both E*Trade and Zions are, they might not be quoting the best price. Therefore, an investor who is serious about buying bonds opens accounts wherever he or she has to and executes wherever he or she is best served on that particular transaction.

What's hard to understand about that? And why complain, which is pointless? The bond-market has always been, and will always be, an institutionally-dominated market in which the small investor is a barely-tolerated nuisance. That's the market. That's the landscape. Those are the facts. Us small investors who buy our one bond, or two bonds, or maybe five or ten, are despised, scorned, and dis-repected. The big boys would just as soon we all go away and leave them the easy money that comes from abusive spreads, abusive commissions, a dearth of data, etc., etc., etc.

However, I have learned this much. "In adversity, there is opportunity" and them that are willing to fight for a seat at table can play the game and hold their own, even against the big boys. If you want to buy your own bonds, then be prepared to fight for every basis point, on every transaction, and to do whatever you have to do to lower your costs of doing business. If that means opening multiple accounts, then that's what a serious bond investor does. Your choice. If you want the easy, one-account access to markets such as stock or fund investors have, then stay away from individual bonds.

Charlie
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PS How's that 50-share position in FB working out for you? That was easy to get into, right? Click-click, and the shares were in your account.
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