A direct stock purchase plan (DSPP) is a plan that allows investors to purchase stock in a company without a broker and get it directly from the company instead.
With DSSPs, there are often no brokerage fees. Meanwhile, discounts to the share prices may be available for larger purchases. With shares purchased through a DSPP, investors have the same profit and loss opportunities, access to dividends, as well as stockholder voting rights.
However, direct stock purchase plans may not be right for every investor. Learn more about buying stock direct from companies through a DSPP, including the pros and cons.
Direct Stock Purchase Plan, Explained
What is a direct stock purchase plan? Typically, many investors use a broker to buy shares of stock. But you can sometimes purchase stocks directly from companies, no broker required. This is what it means to participate in a direct stock purchase plan.
Many blue-chip stocks tend to offer DSPPs. For example, let’s say Company X offers a plan that allows investors to buy $500 or more worth of company stock directly from it, up to $250,000 a year, with some service and transaction fees.
With a DSPP, investors directly purchase shares, sometimes at a small discount. Discounts can range from 1% to 10% to encourage investors to buy more shares.
However, because many brokerage accounts now waive fees and commissions entirely for many investors, the savings difference is smaller than it used to be.
💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that opening a brokerage account typically doesn’t come with any setup costs? Often, the only requirement to open a brokerage account — aside from providing personal details — is making an initial deposit.
Pros and Cons of a DSPP
Direct stock purchase plans have benefits and drawbacks. These include:
• No broker needed. Investors can purchase shares of stock directly from the company.
• Very little money is required to get started, and the process is typically simple to do.
Good for long-term investing.
• Some DSPP programs offer dividend reinvestment plans.
• An investor may not achieve portfolio diversification because not all stocks offer DSPPs.
• Companies may put maximum limits on how much an individual investor can purchase.
• When selling DSPP stocks, multiple types of fees can sometimes be charged.
How To Invest in a DSPP
Armed with information about how to buy directly from companies, investors may want to explore what specific opportunities exist. Perhaps they already have a publicly traded company in mind. In that case, they can go to that company’s investor relations website to see if the company offers this type of investment opportunity.
They can also search on the Internet to see which direct stock purchase plans are available.
More specifically, if someone wants to buy stocks in this way, they typically open an account and make deposits into it. Usually, these deposits are automatically made monthly through an ACH funds transfer from the investor’s bank account. In some cases you can write checks as well.
Then, that dollar amount is applied toward purchasing shares in that company’s stock, which can include fractional shares. For example, let’s say that one share of a company’s stock currently costs $20. If an investor sets up an ACH withdrawal of $50 monthly, then, each month they have purchased 2.5 shares of that company’s stock.
One of the benefits of investing through a direct stock purchase plan is the ability to incrementally invest in an inexpensive way. This might make it a good choice for some first-time investors with smaller amounts of money to invest, with initial deposits ranging from $100 to $500. In some cases, initial deposit minimums can be waived if you purchase a certain dollar value of stock every month. But again, it may be difficult to achieve portfolio diversification with DSPP.
Companies With DSPPs
A number of large, well-established companies offer DSPPs. Companies with direct stock purchase plans include Walmart, The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks, and Home Depot, and Best Buy, among others.
💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.
What to Consider Before Buying DSPPs
When online investing was new, people typically needed to pay significant fees to brokers to buy stock. In that era, direct stock purchase plans could be money-savers for investors. Over time, though, fees for online investing have lessened, making this less distinctive of a benefit.
In addition, many DSPPs charge initial setup fees, and may have other investment fees, including ones for each purchase transaction or sale. Although they may be small, these fees can build up over time. And it may be challenging to re-sell shares without the use of a broker, which makes this investment strategy more of a long-term one.
Plus, any time a share is purchased, some degree of stock volatility comes along with it — how much depends upon what is happening with that specific company and the overall levels of turbulence in the market.
Here’s something else to consider: When owning stock in just one company, or only a couple of them, portfolios aren’t diversified. When you diversify your investment assets, it helps to spread out the degree of risk. That’s because, if one stock’s value decreases, others may rise to balance out that portfolio.
Direct stock purchase plans are when individual investors can directly purchase shares of that company’s stock without the need for broker involvement. The benefits of DSPPs potentially include purchasing company shares at a discount, and not needing a broker to make the transaction.
The downside of DSPPs is that a limited number of companies offer them, which means that an investor who invests solely through DSPPs may not have the best portfolio diversification. Plus, with brokerage commissions and fees rapidly shrinking, in many cases to zero, DSPPs have become a less essential way of cutting down trading costs for investors.
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What is the difference between a brokerage and a direct stock purchase?
The main difference between a brokerage and a direct stock purchase is this: With a direct stock purchase, an investor buys shares of one company. A brokerage, on the other hand, offers multitudes of different stock options an investor may choose from.
What is direct stock vs portfolio stock?
With direct stock, an investor purchases shares of stock directly from a company. A portfolio refers to a collection of different types of investments an investor may have, including stocks, bonds, or stock funds, to name a few.
What is the difference between DSPP and DRIP?
By using a DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan), investors can buy more stock in companies whose shares they own by reinvesting what they earn from dividends. With a DSPP, an investor can purchase stock directly from a company. Unlike a DRIP, they don’t have to use dividends to purchase shares.
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