While at first glance, it might seem that stock brokers aren’t making quite as much as they used to, a closer look at the chart below courtesy of Deutsche Bank reveals how well they’ve adapted and profited from the evolving modern market.
Over the twenty three year period, between 1983 and 2003, the average commission has fallen nearly five-fold, while the volume of traded shares has gone up by nearly 100 millions shares a year. So while there is plenty of opportunities to take a piece off the top for traders, they aren’t taking nearly as big a bite as before. Their business model has pivoted away from the high fees imposed on a few investors, and more toward a volume-based nibbling of a much much larger pie. As more shares and more investors enter the market, the fees may keep trending lower, while the profits for traders will most likely continue to rise with the increased volume.