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Broker

brokers agent business

BROKER, a word derived variously from the French broier, to grind, and brocarder, to cavil or Niggle, and the Saxon broc, misfortune.

A broker is an agent or intermediate person appointed for transacting special business on account of another, but differing somewhat from an ordinary factor in functions and responsibility. Of this class there are various descriptions, exercising employment without the smallest analogy, though all are brought under the general name of brokers : of these the principal are - exchange brokers, whose province is to ascertain the rates and relation of exchhange between countries ; stock-brokers, who negotiate transac tions in the public funds ; insurance brokers, who effect insurances on lives or property ; and pawnbrokers, who advance money on goods, on the condition of being allowed to sell the goods if the sum advanced is not repaid with interest within a limited time. See AGENT and INSURANCE.

Separating pawnbrokers, and those dealers in old wares who are called brokers, as both distinct from the class to whom the term in its broader acceptation applies, the broker is an agent for both parties, the buyer and the seller ; and for the general principles of jurisprudence applicable to his position, reference may be made to the article AGENT. It is a marked peculiarity, however, of the broker as an agent, that his quality of agency is not only palpable in the face of the transactions, but he is agent for both parties. The function of the broker is indeed a very simple one, and easily separates itself from the usual intricacies of the law of sale and of agency. It is his proper function to find buyers and sellers, and to bring them together that they may transact with each other. Hence the rise of such a class in any department of business is an indication of its great increase. In small towns, and in narrow and peculiar departments of business, the buyers and the sellers know each other, and need not be at the expense of employing a third party. But where both bodies are numerous, and the individual members of each find enough to occupy their attention in the production of their commodity, or its purchase and distribution, there is economy in the establishment of a distinct class who bring the buyer and the seller together. The broker usually gives what are called bought and sold notes to his clients, and some nice questions have arisen as to the effect of these when they do not correspond with each other or with the entry in the broker's books. The amount of broker's commission is in some few cases fixed by statute,e.g., under 10 Anne c. 19, § 120, a fine of £20 is imposed on brokers charging more than 2s. 9d. per cent. for buying or selling tallies, exchequer tickets, bank bills, &c. Generally it is settled by agreement with the principals or by the custom of trade. The brokers for the purchase and sale of goods within the city of London arc a body with peculiar privileges, and acting under special licensing regulations, some of which date back to the reign of Henry VIII. The London Brokers' Relief Act (1870) has considerably altered their position, but they must still be admitted by the court of mayor and aldermen, and the penalty of £100 for acting as a broker without qualification may still be imposed. A list of London brokers is kept by the mayor and aldermen ; and if a broker has been convicted of felony or fraud, or certified by a superior judge to have been guilty of fraud, he may be absolutely or for a time disqualified. There has been some doubt as to the class of persons falling under these regulations ; ship-brokers and auctioneers, it would appear, do not.

Bromberg [next] [back] Broglie, Achille Lronce Victor Charles

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