They are held at financial institutions, called brokerages or broker-dealers, whose professionals are licensed to do the actual trading of the assets, under the investor's direction. The broker is then responsible for executing an investor's orders. The client receives notices of transactions, and monthly statements — either paper, or, increasingly, electronically. Brokerages typically charge annual fees to service and maintain your account. Meaning, it doesn't apply to losses if your investments perform poorly — you losing money because they've dropped in price or value. Withdrawals are often strictly limited until the investor reaches a certain age.
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