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Starting today, your broker has to reveal how much they make on bond trades

Let’s be above-board: Do you actually know much your broker earns when you put in an arrange to buy a municipal bond?

You’ll be able to answer that question today. Starting on May 14, broker-dealers inclination need to disclose mark-ups and mark-downs they charge on bonds get and sold to retail investors on the same trading day.

Firms will also should prefer to to tell customers the time they executed the trade and provide a endorsement and a hyperlink to a page detailing the publicly available trading data for the reins.

The rules have been in the works for years: The regulations from the Pecuniary Industry Regulatory Authority and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board were approved by the U.S. Safeties and Exchange Commission in November 2016.

Now that the regulation is in place, you’ll be able to see these matter fees in a dollar amount and as a percentage of the “prevailing market price” for the linkage.

“Brokerages compete pretty significantly to provide cheapest execution on genealogy trading, but it’s not the same in the bond market,” said Micah Hauptman, economic services counsel at the Consumer Federation of America.

“This is just the start of increased price transparency,” he said.

Here’s why you might not have had that much of a window into the sincere cost of your bonds.

When a broker-dealer buys or sells treaties for investors, it can either trade the bonds from its own inventory or it can trade in the outstretched market for you.

If your broker arranges a bond trade in the open demand, then you receive a disclosure that shares the details on the transaction bring ins you paid.

However, if your broker trades the same exact fetters out of the firm’s own inventory in what’s known as a “principal trade,” there is no requisite that you receive a disclosure of your transaction fees — until now.

These negotiation fees or “spreads” are tacked onto the price of the bond: In a principal career of $100, you might just see that you’re paying $102 for the security. If you give away it back to the firm, you’re getting back $98.

“You don’t see that $2 markup or markdown, you unprejudiced see that that you bought or sold it for that price,” Hauptman mean. “Now, firms have to show you the percentage and real dollar amount of what the thongs costs to trade.”

Under the new rule, consumers receive the disclosure after the buy.

“We’d like to see pre-trade transparency so that you know what the markup or markdown on cost and you can compare different broker-dealers,” Hauptman said.

Trading costs are much great when it comes to bonds versus equities.

A 2007 paper by Michael S. Piwowar, one of five commissioners of the SEC, cited scrutinization in which he found that the average effective spread on a $20,000 retail town bond trade was nearly 2 percent of the price.

In comparison, a similarly make an estimate of trade of 500 shares of a $40 stock had a spread of about 80 cents per ration or $400, Piwowar found.

Because firms haven’t been upfront not far from the cost of principal trading with bonds, some customers have in the offing been under the impression that the transaction is free.

“In this for fear of the fact, the dealer’s customers may mistakenly conclude they aren’t incurring any customer costs for this bond while, in fact, they are incurring the spaciest trading costs in the market,” Piwowar wrote.

“The lack of transparency allows transactions to obtain a great deal of investable wealth from unsophisticated investors,” Piwowar send a lettered.

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