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A broker (often called a stockbroker) is the gateway between you and the JSE. If you want to buy or sell shares, you can’t go directly to the JSE. Instead, you have to find a broker who will act on your behalf. This broker will follow your instructions as to what you want to trade in, the number of shares and the price. They will submit the orders to the JSE.
Everybody has to go via a stockbroker, even the largest institutions (although they may have an in-house stockbroker, for convenience).
Stockbrokers are regulated by the JSE as well as the Financial Services Board (FSB) to protect investors.
A stockbroker could be execution-only, but they could also offer advice and manage your portfolio. An execution-only stockbroker only enables your transacting. They never suggest what to buy or sell. This is pure do-it-yourself (DIY) investing. An advisory stockbroker will make suggestions on what to buy or sell, or may even manage your portfolio with full discretion. To use this option, you need to have a large account for it to make economic sense for the stockbroker.