A broker-dealer is a natural person, a company or other organization that engages in the business of trading securities for its own account (as a dealer) or on behalf of its customers (as a broker). By definition, broker-dealers are buyers and sellers of securities, and they are also distributors of other investment products. Broker-dealers fulfill several important functions in the financial industry. These include providing investment advice to customers, supplying liquidity through market making activities, facilitating trading activities, publishing investment research and raising capital for companies. Broker-Dealers are mainly independent firms or subsidiaries of commercial banks, investment banks, or investment companies.