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After saving for a couple of years, about half a year's salary has accumulated in my savings account and I now want to start investing long term in index funds, however if I open a securities account it has to be with my current employer (a financial institution) due to compliance reasons.

There's only one problem: even with the employee discount I still have to pay approximately 40 USD commission per transaction plus a yearly account fee, which would cost me around x10 as much per year than at any other broker.

On top of this, were I to lose my job or quit then naturally I lose the employee discount..

As I see it I have three choices,

  1. Do nothing, lose out on X years of profit until circumstances change
  2. Make very few, much larger transactions than I'm really comfortable with
  3. Look for another job without this compliance requirement

Are there any other options that I've overlooked?

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    Is there any chance they would allow you to waive the requirement, since, it's a personal investment account? Would it be worth asking? Basically present all the information you have here and see what they say? No chance? – Fattie Apr 16 at 2:32
  • Is this compliance requirement even legal? Can they detect if you violated it? – glglgl Apr 16 at 12:05
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    @fattie it is because it is a personal account that compliance has this requirement; it is to make it easy for them to monitor him for insider trading. – MD-Tech Apr 16 at 16:16
  • @glglgl The compliance requirement is very legal since it is there to control someone who is likely to have privileged information to trade on - it is there to stop him doing illegal things. Detecting a violation is potentially easy given regulators' requirements for data sharing but the risks of being caught; loss of job, sanctions from the regulator, and potential imprisonment, are high enough that it isn't worth the risk. – MD-Tech Apr 16 at 16:20
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    @Fattie this is getting too chatty but currently 100% of employees probably use the company's system. I agree it is worth asking but I've worked on these compliance desks and I know what a laughing compliance lawyer sounds like... – MD-Tech Apr 16 at 16:32
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First, make sure whether there are any investments that can reduce the fees. Some brokers that charge commissions on stocks offer select mutual funds or ETFs with no transaction fee.

You will want to confirm if each dividend reinvestment incurs the commission. Sometimes these are free. If they are charged, then you may want to decline reinvestment until you periodically accumulate a larger amount of dividends, which can perhaps be combined with one of your savings contributions to make a purchase.

Minimize the number of funds you need to buy and rebalance. Consider a target date or asset allocation fund including an appropriate mix of stocks and bonds. (If you're young, you can get away with all stock for now.) If you do use more than one fund, rotate your contribution chunks to one fund at a time (whichever is lagging your desired allocation) rather than splitting your contributions or rebalancing directly.

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You would think that half a year's salary is enough to where $40 doesn't have a major impact. Therefore I would say the 2nd option is the most reasonable.

Option 1 seems like a weird option. You'd rather not profit than to give your company ridiculous fees ? How much profit would you be willing to lose out on ?

Option 2 is reasonable. Avoid fees whenever possible, but still invest your money when you can.

Option 3 seems overkill. But if you're thinking about leaving your job because of this inconvenience you probably should look for a job regardless. Might get something you like better than what you currently have.

  • Per transaction it adds up if you trade once a month and have say 6 reinvested dividends per year that's over $700 - mine in the UK is about < $200 in the Uk for a similar trading pattern – Neuromancer Apr 16 at 22:07
  • @Neuromancer so it's like a negative $500 from salary. Annoying but I wouldn't change jobs for a $500 raise. – stannius Apr 16 at 22:43
  • closer to $1000 as this is post tax monney – Neuromancer Apr 16 at 23:05
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I believe this is a very standard, industry wide, government regulation driven requirement.

So if you remain in that industry and in the roles covered by the regulations, you will have to follow the compliance rules.

Given that option 2 is your most reasonable bet.

But if your skill set allows you to work outside of the financial industry, and if you like to try your hand at the stock market, then yes it is time for a new job in a different industry.

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