Where to Buy Bonds

August 22, 2011


You can buy bonds at any major online brokerage including Zions Direct, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, E*Trade, Scottrade, or TDAmeritrade among others. The advantage with the online brokerages is that you will have a large pool of bonds to choose from. Since the online brokerages do not usually own any inventory, these brokerages have limited incentive to try to sell you only bonds that they own.

Local and online dealers often specialize in carrying regional inventory and may have local expertise that you would find beneficial. There are lots of dealers that you can easily find online. Make sure that they are reputable. You should be aware of two things: Local dealers own a limited selection of bonds and often have an incentive to sell you what they own. If the dealer does not own the bonds, the dealer will go onto an electronic platform to access a much larger pool of inventory. You can access this inventory yourself via any online brokerage.

The second thing is that local dealers have commissioned salespeople. This means that the broker has an incentive to sell you bonds. This can be a benefit or not: An earnest bond salesperson can very diligent in trying to earn your business and find you great deals. A bond salesman will make their best efforts to sell you bonds. You will find local and regional bond specialists to be quite knowledgeable about bonds…accompanied with salesmanship.

Major full-service brokerages such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and others can offer you access to new issues from across the country. If you can find a broker willing to spend the time helping you build a bond portfolio, this could be worthwhile. Most financial advisors are simply not going to have the time required to construct individual bond portfolios unless they specialize in fixed income…i.e. bonds.

There are also Registered Investment Advisors that specialize in managing bond portfolios for clients. The benefit here is that you get bond specialization and professional management along with the benefits of owning individual bonds. If you are highly reluctant to select bonds by yourself or do not feel comfortable in your understanding, this may be a good option.

As with anything in life, the more you know about something, the more you are going to get. If you are convinced that municipal bonds are right for you, you should start by investing in the most basic and simple products possible. If you buy high-quality bonds, avoid things you do not understand, and don’t get tempted by the higher yields of more esoteric products, you will do fine.

Login to your account

Email address:

Become a member

Register for a MunicipalBonds.com account to get access to a whole new way of tracking, analyzing, and researching bonds.

   Keep track of bonds you own
   Get ratings from S&P for all rated municipal bonds
   View issue history reports
   Access our price archives
...And much more

Register now »

We are providing certain data supplied to us by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board ("the Service") without warranties or representations and on an "as-is" basis. WE HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES (EXPRESS OR IMPLIED), BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE REGARDING THE SERVICE. You shall bear all risk, related costs and liability and be responsible for your use of the Service.

The transaction data provided through the Real-Time Transaction Subscription Service represents municipal securities transaction data made available by brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers to the MSRB and related information. Such transaction data and/or related information may not exist for all municipal securities and may not be required to be submitted to the MSRB for certain types of municipal securities transactions. The MSRB does not review transaction data submitted by submitters for accuracy, completeness or any other purpose, and does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of any such transaction data and/or related information.

The MSRB, its officers, directors, employees, agents, consultants, and licensors shall not be liable or responsible to you or anyone else for any losses, injuries, damages, costs, expenses or claims caused by, arising out of or relating to the following: (a) acts, omissions, occurrences or contingencies beyond their control; (b) service interruptions or performance failures, such as those that result from the use of telecommunications facilities that are outside of their control, including the Internet: (c) negligence, gross negligence or willful misconduct in procuring, compiling, interpreting, editing, writing, reporting or delivering any of the content and material; (d) lost, stolen, late, corrupted, misdirected, failed, incomplete or delayed transmissions by anyone using the Service, including, but not limited to, any technical malfunctions, human error, computer viruses, lost data transmissions, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, hyperlink failures or line failures of any telephone network, computer equipment, software or any combination thereof; (e) damage to your computer systems, equipment, software, data or other tangible or intangible property resulting from or sustained in connection with your use of the Service; and/or (f) any disruption of business, lost sales or lost profits or any punitive, exemplary, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages associated or in connection with, resulting from or arising out of any use of the Service or the content and material in the Service.

The MSRB and its officers, directors, employees, agents, consultants, and licensors shall have no liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability) to you or anyone else for any reason associated or in connection with, resulting from or arising out of your use of the Service. The MSRB, its officers, directors, employees, agents, consultants, and licensors make, and have made, no recommendations regarding any of the securities or other investment vehicles, referred to or described in the Service.

The Service is reproduced by permission of the MSRB under a non-exclusive license. The MSRB accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the reproduction of the Service or that Service is current.