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Author: starvingactor One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 4956  
Subject: Re: A Disgruntled (now former) Customer Date: 7/22/2005 2:47 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts, dsbrady.

First off - yeah, the statements still seem as though they were created back when the web was still government-only. I thought they'd've done something by now, too, but they haven't. I even wrote a letter about that one to the higher-ups in customer service at one point, after a particularly difficult-to-understand snafu.

I did want to address your other two comments, however:

1) Not being able to buy certain stocks: I can understand some frustration, but from a business standpoint on their end, it doesn't make sense. They have to buy whole shares in order to process your order, and for small caps and very expensive stocks (such as Berkshire B), you may be the only person placing an order for those stocks, which means they'd get stuck with a lot of shares they may never get rid of. That may not be ideal from a customer standpoint, but from a company trying to run a profitable business, it's necessary.

Indeed. From a business standpoint, for them it does make sense...especially given the 'partial-share' way of doing business. I don't begrudge them that. I do, however, take issue with them not clearly pointing the limited stock selection out before I opened my account. It was quite annoying to find out once I had already transferred in.

Looking back at their website, I can't find a place where it specifically says 'our stock selection is limited,' or some variation of that. I only find one page where it offers to let you search the 'list of available stocks.' I guess I just assumed that they were listing out all the stocks that were available at other institutions.

Most of their site seems geared towards taking someone who does not currently invest and encouraging them to discover the world of investing. I guess I assumed it was just part of the marketing. "You, too, can invest in Coca-Cola!!"

In short, for them, it's necessary to limit stock selection in order to maximize profits as a business, and I can understand that. For me, it's necessary to have access to a large number of stocks, in order to maximize my profits as a small-cap and value investor. Had they stated that clearly to begin, or had I understood it clearly at the beginning, I would've gone elsewhere.


2) Whole dollar amounts as opposed to whole shares: I seem to recall them being very upfront about that before I even signed up. That's actually a selling point, and not a downside. B&H is designed for small investors who may only be putting in $50/month. This allows them to get stocks they may not otherwise be able to get (other than the ones they don't offer, of course).


Looking back over their site again, I don't find it to be part of their selling point. I do find it pointed out, though, once you wade in a bit - I'll give you that.

My point was less about thinking of this factor as a negative, and more (again) about pointing it out, so the person considering B&H is aware of it. Especially in light of how it affects my later point (the excessive fees upon transferring out), which I do consider a big negative.

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I should also try and convince you that my main reason for posting anything was not to spew forth vitriolic bile at Buyandhold - I'm not that disgruntled. I've got very little against them, save that I feel a bit misled. Mostly I just wanted to point out a number of things that I didn't realize going into it, either because I had overlooked it or because it wasn't spelled out clearly.

Had someone pointed all this out to me beforehand, I could have made a much more informed decision before I moved my accounts. Hopefully, someone else will find this useful in something akin to that way.

Thanks for reading, y'all!

SA
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