August 1, 2003
I have noticed in your magazine various stocks that only seem to get better: Pfizer, GE, and Krispy Kreme. How would I go about buying these stocks without using a broker?
–G. Gatson, Via the Internet
To purchase shares of these companies and many others without using a broker, you must enroll in a direct stock purchase plan or dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP). Both of these options allow you to invest in companies directly, without paying brokers’ fees.
To enroll in a direct investment program, you can register for free at Netstock Direct (www .netstockdirect.com), then follow the instructions by any of the 1,400 individual companies listed on the site to receive materials from their plan administrators (some enrollment forms are available on the site). The process to open an account can take several weeks. You can also access DRIPs at DirectInvesting.com (www .directinvesting.com) by opening an account with the Temper Enrollment Service for $30.50. (Temper’s fee is less if you pay a subscription fee of $50 to $199 for additional investment resources on the site.) Temper handles all the paperwork and can open your account in four to six weeks.
Although you forego a broker’s commission to enroll in a DRIP program, many companies with direct investment plans require minimum initial investments from $250 to $1,000 to join. Of the companies you asked about, Pfizer requires a $500 minimum investment; GE a $250 minimum; and Krispy Kreme does not have a direct stock purchase plan.