A brokerage company’s main duty is to act as a middleman that connects buyers and sellers to facilitate a transaction. Brokerage companies typically receive compensation by means of commissions or fees that are charged once the transaction has successfully completed. Nowadays these might be paid by the exchange or by the customer, or in some cases both. Because many discount brokerages have instituted zero-commission trading, they make up for this loss of revenue in other areas, including getting paid by the exchanges for larger quantities of order flow. For example, when a trade order for a stock is executed, an investor pays a transaction fee for the brokerage company’s efforts to complete the trade.
The real estate industry also functions using a brokerage company format, as it is customary for real estate brokers to collaborate, with each company representing one party of the transaction to make a sale. In this case, both brokerage companies divide the commission.
A brokerage company may also be called a brokerage firm, or simply a brokerage.