Stock shares purchased on the secondary market or stock exchange must be bought through a registered broker. Some companies also offer their shares direct to investors through direct purchase plans. It takes some research to find direct purchase plans but the result is the opportunity to buy stocks without a broker and without commissions.
Find the "Investor Services" page on the website of the company whose stock you want to buy. The "Investor" link is usually listed in a menu near the top of the home page or all the way at the bottom.
Look for a menu link titled "Direct Stock Purchase Plan," "Dividend Reinvestment Plan" or something similar. You may have to select "Shareholder Services" first to be taken to the page were the direct investment information is listed. Not all companies have a direct purchase plan, but if they do a link to the enrolment information will be in the "Investor Services" section of the company's website.
Follow the link for the direct purchase information and review the terms of the company's direct stock purchase plan. Make note of the minimum initial and subsequent investments, any fees and the preferred method to send in money.
Complete the online application for the stock purchase program or download and print the application to complete and mail the application. Send your investment amount with the application or set up the electronic investment method directed in the enrolment material.
Look up the listings of direct purchase stock programs. Direct purchase programs are administered by third-party companies. The major third party administrators are BNY Mellon, American Stock and Transfer Company and Computershare. Links for the stock listing pages are provided in the Resources section.
Look through the company lists and make your own list of stocks that have investment minimums and fee structures that meet your requirements. Each stock sets its own rules and costs for their direct investment plan. Many have little or no cost to buy shares direct.
Review your list for good investment prospects. Direct purchase plans work well with companies that pay regular dividends that can be automatically reinvested into more shares of stock.
Enrol in the selected program or programs following the enrolment steps outlined previously.
Direct purchase plans allow you to buy your first and subsequent shares through the plan. Dividend reinvestment plans require you to own one or more shares of the stock first before you can enrol. Many direct purchase plans charge less for automatic electronic investments than sending in a check. Check the plan requirements for investing. Set up several direct purchase plans with regular investment to grow a long-term investment portfolio without using a broker.
Direct purchase plans do not protect you against stock market losses. Do your own research and understand the risks of stock investing before enrolling in any stock purchase plan.