A person or business firm acting as a middleman to facilitate distribution of securities or goods. Typically, a dealer buys for his or her own account and sells to a customer from the dealer's inventory. Thus a dealer acts as a principal rather than as an agent. The dealer's profit or loss is the difference between the price he pays and the price he receives for the same security or goods. The same individual or company may, at different times, function as a dealer or as a broker, who buys and sells for his clients' accounts.