They offer the largest number of products, personalized consultations, and all different kinds of portfolio management services.
Unfortunately, there is still no such thing as a free lunch.
These added services often come with a large price tag, and you many times you can do better on your own using index investing!
The term "full service" represents the fact that these firms offer a full range of products (types of investments), in depth research on investing strategies and investing techniques, as well as customizable tools.
They also offer a wide range of trading advice and investment recommendations that can help novice and advanced investors alike.
Professional money managers, wealth and asset managers, certified financial planners (CFP), can also be lumped into this category, even though they aren't truly "brokers" (they need to have an account with a broker in order to place trades on your behalf).
Aside from investment management and debt consolidation, these services require tax and legal expertise that can justify the cost of hiring a full service broker.
Firms will tell you that services are customized for each customer, so there is no "standard" pricing. In reality, the services actually are standardized. Firms arrange their offerings into packages behind the scenes, and then these packages are made available to clients based on "assets under management" or the size of their account. More money equals more services.
Remember, hiring a good money manager is just one decision within your safe investing process. It does not let you off the hook, because you are still responsible for managing your money even when someone is investing on your behalf.
If you hire someone to handle your money but don't have a plan, you are not longer investing...you are gambling.
The Madoff Scandal is a great example. Whether there were warning signs along the way (there were many) doesn't matter.
Don't let this happen to you.
What DOES matter is that a total of $65 billion dollars was "lost". No refund, no insurance payout, no partial return of investment; just a letter saying, "Sorry, all your money is gone".