What is the “front office” of a brokerage firm? Simply, it’s a standard term to describe the part of a brokerage that deals directly with clients.
Front Office Basics
When you buy securities or invest in a hedge fund, the people you are dealing with are actually the front office of the brokerage. The front office of a brokerage firm is the part that is “client-facing.” Sales staff, traders, and brokers are all considered to be a part of the front office.
The front office is where brokers take your buy or sell order, make acquisitions and entries of client’s orders, and make investments on their behalf. This part of the brokerage is called the front office to differentiate it from other parts of the brokerage. These would include the “middle office,” which deals with regulatory reporting and calculates and reports P and L, and the “back office” of the brokerage firm, which handles the tracking, clearing and processing of security transfers. But as a brokerage client, you will probably never encounter any of these parts of the brokerage or even be aware of their function.
While these are all important parts of the brokerage business, they are largely invisible to the clients served by the brokerage. Any time you walk in to a brokerage and deal with a broker or trader, or buy a product or service, you are dealing with the front office.