Originally Posted by ricksome
I am still with my broker. I understand that he is full service and the commissions are high. IMHO they are too high.
You can always open an account with one of the discount brokerage house (Scott, TDAmeritrade, etc) and see how comfortable you are with doing your own investing. Or you can move some of your money to another broker and have them compete with/monitor one another.
I have noticed that for example, with most of the online brokerage house, I have no access to institutional class or institutional only funds unless I put up some serious money (multimillion minimum), or really good corporate/muni bonds because the good ones have already been snatched up way ahead of individual investors.
I do like the idea of using online brokerage for purchasing individual stocks, ETF, or index funds and you can certainly build an all-ETF asset allocation portfolio. Again, the question remains which ETF, how to allocate and when to rebalance between your allocations.
However, I don't think ETFs, by themselves, is the holly grail. ETFs certainly can give you wide exposure to an entire sector of business (again you would have to know the particulars about sector ETFs) or market, but as with all indexes, its not very flexible, it does not anticipate, it does not give you any exposure to other asset classes or give you any way to hedge against systematic risk.
My advice: don't rely on any single financial instrument. Have some ETF, have some index funds, use some active-managed funds, have some bond/bondfund, do some real estate investing. Perhaps professional help is not unwarranted in today's economy. Of course, it all comes down to how much investable assets you have; you may or may not have access to the really good people. To be honest, I would venture to guess most top fund managers, traders, and wall-street gurus don't do their own investing.