Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Sep 25, 2022


What is Meant by Markup?

A markup is a difference between the lowest current offer price of investment by broker-dealers and the price paid to the client for that investment. Markups arise when brokers operate as agents, at their expense buying and selling shares from their accounts, rather than earning a commission to facilitate a trade.

Many dealers are brokers, and vice versa, so broker-dealer terms are general. Markups also occur in retail environments, where vendors mark up a certain amount or percentage of the selling price of products to make a profit.

Markup Explained

Markups arise when such securities are available from brokers who sell the securities directly from their accounts for retail investors to purchase. The only benefit the dealer gets comes in the form of the premium, the difference between the selling price for the defence and the price the dealer charges to the retail buyer.

The dealer assumes some risk because the security's market price may drop before being sold to investors. In comparison, a markdown happens when a broker buys a security from a customer at a price below its market value.

Markups are a legal way to make a profit for broker-dealers on stock sales. Securities, such as shares, which are acquired or sold on the market are provided with a spread. The difference is determined by the price of the offer. What someone is willing to pay for the bonds, and the price of the ask, which is what someone is willing to accept.

If a dealer functions as a principal in the trade, the sale price will be marked up, which allows a broader range of bid-ask. The difference between the spread of the business and the marked outspread of the dealer is income.

The dealer needs to report the transaction fee, which is typically a nominal expense. The buyer is not privy to the initial contract or the markup of the dealer in so doing. The only downside to the purchasing of the bond from the buyer's viewpoint is the low transaction charge.

Unless the bond-holder wants to sell the bond on the open market immediately, he will have to make up the dealer's premium on the spread or take a loss. The lack of clarity puts the pressure on the buyers of the bonds to determine whether they are getting a reasonable deal.

Dealers compete with each other by slashing their discount numbers. Bond investors will equate the price the broker paid for the bond to the actual price. Bond investors can access details of bond transactions through different websites, such as, which records all information relating to bond transactions every day.

How to Calculate the Markup?

The formula below depicts the markup as a percentage of the cost and added to the cost in order to create a new total, in other words, the cost-plus.

  1. Cost × (1 + Markup) = Sale price
  2. Solved for Markup = (Sale price / Cost) − 1
  3. Solved for Markup = (Sale price − Cost) / Cost

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