Commission on sale of single stock?
December 13, 2008 8:04 AM   Subscribe

How much commission should we expect to pay on the sale of a single stock?

We recently received an inheritance in stock (held in a Smith Barney account) that we need to cash out. I've looked high and low on the Smith Barney website and also searched for a printed prospectus that probably has this info in 6 point type somewhere, but I'm not having good luck. To satisfy my curiosity until the broker's office opens on Monday, I'm turning to you. How much commission should we expect to pay from the sale?

So here are the details:

- One stock
- Base value (date of death) was $47
- Hoping to sell at $38
- Looking at getting either $25k, $50k or $75k in cash (I assume the quantity sold affects commission?)

Links to online tools to figure all this out would be great, or I'll also happily take a ballpark answer. Thanks!
posted by Sweetie Darling to Work & Money (5 answers total)
There are plenty of online brokerages (eTrade, Ameritrade/TD, Scottrade, etc.) that would let you sell for under $20 in a single transaction. Some are as low as $7 or $8 I think. But you'd have to go through the transfer process, which might take a few days. So you'll have to consider the risk of market fluctuation once you find out how much Smith Barney is going to charge you.
posted by JakeWalker at 8:52 AM on December 13, 2008

Yup- you'll have to call and ask. Most places have different prices for different methods. For instance, they might have a $50 flat fee if you sell online, yet charge per share if you call in to make the trade with a live person.

Most places don't make you wait until Monday- they should have someone available on Saturday to answer questions, though of course any trades you place won't go through until Monday (and then you'll have 3 days til they settle and you can get your cash or use it to buy something else.)
posted by small_ruminant at 9:53 AM on December 13, 2008

Scottrade is $7/trade, for as many shares as you want to buy or sell at the same time (as long as you do it over the internet rather than on the phone). It also doesn't have any fees to open an account. A few years ago when I was looking for the lowest-cost place to execute trades, they were the cheapest--not sure if that's still true, but I would be surprised if they weren't among the lowest.

Also, speaking from (bitter) experience, one thing you also need to plan on in terms of costs is the "account closing" fee at Smith Barney. When I decided to flip my brokerage account over from a full-service place that was charging $40/trade plus $25/quarter "inactivity fees", I was not happy to learn that a lot of the full service brokerages also will keep $75 or so of your cash for the privilege of closing or transferring your account to another brokerage.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:55 AM on December 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I don't think the transfers are an option - we are staying with SB because all the family accounts are interconnected - although at some point I may look into it. It's already Sunday so I guess I'll know soon enough, and I'll post the answer for future reference.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:31 AM on December 14, 2008

Response by poster: The answer? A bunch. About 1.25% of the transaction total.

posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:36 AM on December 17, 2008

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