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aleax wrote, In my 401k (where I have a "brokerage window" that lets me purchase most any security traded on a major exchange at low commission rates)

To which you replied, Wow. That's a remarkable benefit in a 401k!!!

Perhaps. But I think it may be more common in the tech industry. At least for larger companies.

I've had 3 401Ks with brokerage windows over the past 20 years. In the late '90s, commission pricing for the window was higher than in an individual account (like $29.95/trade). That made using the window very unattractive to me and I gather my coworkers felt the same. (Some of us discussed starting an investment club around that time, so this stuff definitely came up around the workplace.)

I suspect brokers found they weren't making money with the high fees, so now they seem to be more inline with their regular brokerage businesses. My current employer uses Fidelity and they have such a window and the fees are identical to my individual accounts. I've not used it to buy individual stocks yet - I usually just keep a mix of funds in my 401K and re-balance periodically. But I recently decided to liquidate my (short-term) bond fund holdings in the 401K and purchase some individual bonds with the funds in the hopes of getting more for taking extra risk.

- Joel
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