Pros, cons and who should open an account
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- Merrill Edge offers online trading, investing, retirement and education savings plans for advisors.
- Merrill Edge might be particularly suitable for active traders and clients of Bank of America.
- Standard brokerage accounts have no minimum and offer unlimited free trades in stocks and ETFs.
- Click here to open an account with Merrill Edge.
Is Merrill Edge Right For You?
Merrill Edge is a brokerage offering online investing, trading, retirement, education savings and investment research solutions. The brokerage was formed after Bank of America (BOA) acquired wealth management firm Merrill Lynch in 2009.
The company also offers margin loans, tax planning, step-by-step investment advice, and investor education resources. The Merrill Edge Investor Education Center offers financial advice via a Morningstar investment class, videos and webinars, as well as tools and calculators.
Merrill Edge was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. The brokerage house has hundreds of millions of assets under management, with millions of active clients.
Unsure if Merrill Edge is right for you? Read on to see how it compares to other online brokerage firms.
How does Merrill Edge compare?
Bord Merrill, TD Ameritrade, and loyalty all offer brokerage, automated and other types of accounts. All three brokerages allow investors to trade stocks, ETFs and options without commissions. But each platform has different fees and investment choices.
For example, you will pay significantly more for automated advice at TD Ameritrade than with Merrill Edge. While the Merrill Edge automated account has a minimum of $ 1,000 and an annual fee of 0.45%, the TD Ameritrade equivalent has a minimum of $ 25,000 and an annual fee of 0.75% to 0.90. %.
Automated advice at Fidelity, however, is cheaper than Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade. But TD Ameritrade may be the best choice for cryptocurrency traders.
If you’re still interested in exploring Merrill Edge, read on to see if it’s right for you.
Ways to invest with Merrill Edge
Self-directed brokerage accounts
If you want to go the DIY investing route, Merrill Edge offers the choice of individual, joint, or custody accounts. The company’s brokerage accounts also allow unlimited transactions without commission on Stock, ETFs and options (although you will still pay $ 0.65 per options contract). And you can take advantage of its investment research papers to check out the latest stock market news, price movements, company financial data, and more.
You will also have access to mutual funds, obligations, treasures and CDs. While you can avoid commissions on options trades, you will still have to pay $ 0.65 per contract. More advanced or active traders can use the Merrill Edge Market Pro platform for additional investment analysis, market information, and trading functionality.
You can fund your brokerage account in one of four ways: instant real-time funding, wire transfers, checks, or account transfers.
Merrill Edge offers Merrill Guided Investing, a automated advisor, and another managed portfolio – Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor – for investors who wish to work with professional advisors.
With Merrill Guided Investing, you have access to a portfolio that is automatically built, monitored and rebalanced for you. And once you’ve set specific investment goals, the professionals at Merrill Edge create personalized asset allocations and investment strategies on your behalf.
Merrill Guided Investment also offers socially responsible portfolios, which typically eschew certain types of stocks like tobacco in favor of more ethical investments. You will need at least $ 1000 to use his
, and you will have to pay an annual fee of 0.45%.
Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor has an annual fee of 0.85% and a minimum account size of $ 20,000, but you can work with a professional advisor to set and meet your investment goals. In addition to individual counseling, this account also allows for periodic reviews with a financial advisor.
Merrill Edge has several retirement accounts for individuals and businesses. For individuals, brokerage allows you to set up Traditional ARIs, Roth IRA, rolling IRAs and IRA transfers. And each IRA is completely free to configure and maintain.
Businesses, on the other hand, can use the SEP IRA, 401 (k), and SIMPLE IRA.
University savings and 529 plans
Interested in saving for college? Merrill Edge offers two options: 529 packages or custody accounts (UGMA / UTMA).
Merrill’s 529 plans have a minimum upfront funding requirement of $ 25, but you’ll pay $ 0 in account fees. These plans also allow you to make federal tax-free withdrawals and offer four different portfolios: age-diversified portfolios, diversified portfolios, single-fund portfolios, and stable-capital portfolios.
Custodial accounts – technically known as the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act / Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UGMA / UTMA) – allow you to set money aside for minors, or beneficiaries, until they reach the age of termination.
Merrill Edge custody accounts are currently free to set up and maintain. Like its self-directed brokerage accounts, these accounts also offer unlimited commission-free transactions for stocks, ETFs, and options.
Investment research and user interface
On the research side, Merrill Edge provides investment information and third-party analysis from Morningstar, Inc., CFRA, Moody’s and several other investment analysis firms. You’ll also have access to Bank of America Global Research, and you’ll be able to browse the latest stock quotes and reviews on the brokerage’s digital apps.
When it comes to its available platforms, there are three to choose from: the Merrill Edge web platform, the mobile app, and Merrill Edge Market Pro.
BOA integration and privileged rewards program
Merrill Edge is also a competitive option for Bank of America customers as it allows you to integrate your personal Bank of America accounts with your Merrill Edge accounts. You’ll also have access to 4,300 Bank of America Financial Centers if you need in-person assistance, and you can get discounts or increased interest rates if you sign up for the. Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program.
You will primarily need an existing BOA checking account in order to enroll in the Merrill Edge Preferred Rewards program. The program has three tiers – Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Honors – which offer certain discounts for different account balances. Learn more about the rewards here.
Is Merrill Edge trustworthy?
Merrill Edge received an A + rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB rates companies on a rating scale from A + to F, so this is the highest rating a company can receive. This rating also indicates that Merrill Edge generally interacts well with its customers.
When assigning ratings, the BBB also takes into account factors such as a company’s complaint history, time spent in business, advertising issues, and more. But the ratings may vary depending on the investment application.
Merrill Edge has generally not been the subject of any major lawsuits or public scandals over the years. According to BBB data, the company has resolved more than 2,200 complaints in the past 12 months.
Rickie Houston is a wealth building reporter at Personal Finance Insider who covers investing, brokerage, and wealth building products.