- Review: Merrill Edge
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As a financially savvy investor, you want to know how to simplify your life and your money. This is what Merrill Edge aims to do. They are a discount brokerage firm and a subsidiary of Bank of America. This means you get the convenience of Bank of America with the “edge” of Merrill Lynch’s investment advice. We cover how Merrill Edge can give you greater financial control.
In addition, they provide investing options, alongside banking and saving features.
This advantage is provided so you can simplify your financial life and have greater control. Their financial advisors will help you along the way as you create and obtain financial goals.
Merrill Edge Features
|Options Trades||$6.95 + $0.75/contract|
|Mutual Funds||$0 – $29.95|
|Accounts Available||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, 401(k), Custodial, 529, Trust, Estate, Charitable, Individual and Joint|
|Mobile App||Yes — Apple iOS, Apple Watch and Google Android|
|Customer Service||Phone, Live Chat and Email|
|Promotions||See Merrill Edge Promotions Page|
Merrill Edge offers a variety of account options, including IRAs, 529s, and taxable investment accounts. It also offers an array of investment choices, including mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, options, and annuities.
- Flat-rate (no tier) pricing of $6.95 per trade on stocks and ETFs
- Up to 30 free trades per month after meeting certain qualifications
- A broad range of investment choices, including stocks, options, ETFs, annuities, and mutual funds
- Complete view of Merrill Edge investment accounts and Bank of America bank accounts in one place
- Online tools such as the Retirement Evaluator, Asset Allocator, and College Planning Tool
- Merrill Edge MarketPro & Merrill Edge Roadmap
Merrill Edge Pricing and Bonus
You can also earn up to 30 free trades per month if you either: maintain BoA balances of $25,000 or more, maintain Merrill Edge balances of $25,000 or more, or qualify for the Platinum Privileges program. Representative-assisted trades will cost $29.95 each.
For options, trading prices are the same, but there is an additional $0.75 per contract. Mutual funds are $0 per transaction for load waived and no load, no transaction fee funds. No load, transaction fee funds cost $19.95 for online trades, or $29.95 for representative-assisted trades.
|Stock Trades & ETFs||Automated Phone Trades||$0 Trades||Mutual Funds|
|$6.95||$6.95||Up to 30 FREE||$0.00|
Right now if you open an account with Merrill Edge, you could get up to a $600 cash bonus plus 30 free trades. Check out their website for more details.
Merrill Edge has three potentially helpful online tools — the Retirement Evaluator, the Asset Allocator, and the College Planning Tool.
The Retirement Evaluator helps you figure out if you’re on track to reach the retirement you want. It will give you investment ideas and actionable steps to ensure your retirement income matches your retirement goals.
The Asset Allocator helps you figure out your risk tolerance and investment style. Based on this information, it suggests a target asset allocation and compares it to your current allocation. It also gives simple instructions on how to balance your portfolio.
The College Planning Tool helps you estimate future college costs. It also gives recommendations on how to reach your college savings goals.
Merrill Edge MarketPro
The Merrill Edge MarketPro offers real-time market analysis and global research. It allows you to build watchlists and get streaming quotes and financial news. You can filter this information by both industry and ticker symbol. It also gives you access to BoA/Merrill Lynch Global Research which was ranked #1 by Institutional Investor.
MarketPro allows you to monitor your portfolio in real time and see your balances on a minute-by-minute basis. It offers three-step trading and gives you a full view of all your positions so you will be prepared for trading opportunities.
With MarketPro, you can completely customize your dashboard, viewing only the information you want and nothing more. Its charting tools are completely interactive and you can customize 36 different analysis studies in order to track trends.
In order to qualify for MarketPro, you need to open up an investment account and make 15 trades per quarter or have total combined balances of $50,000 between your Bank of America bank accounts and Merrill Edge investment accounts.
Merrill Edge Roadmap
The Merrill Edge Roadmap is about taking charge of your finances with the assistance of an advisor. To begin, you’ll have a one-on-one conversation with a licensed Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor. Your advisor will help you define your savings and investing goals, go over your portfolio allocation and create an action plan, and update you with portfolio reviews every six months.
For investors who want additional help with their portfolios, Merrill Edge Select portfolios are actively managed for a 1% annual management fee.
You can schedule a Merrill Edge Roadmap consultation for free as long as you have a Merrill Edge Advisory Center account.
Before using any investment software, it’s important to review the pros as well as the cons. Let’s breakdown each of them.
- Straightforward pricing
- Possible 30 free trades per month
- Access to your BoA banking and Merrill Edge investing accounts in one place
- Helpful online tools to allocate assets, as well as plan for retirement and/or college
- Interactive market analysis and dashboard with MarketPro
- Free Roadmap consultation with Advisory Center account
- High commission fees on ETFs compared to other available options, such as Betterment and Vanguard
- Account transfer fees of $49.95 on all types of accounts
- High margin fees
- Slow customer service response times according to users
- Slow trading times and updates according to users
Merrill Edge has some helpful online tools and may be a good option for those who bank with Bank of America and want to see their banking and investment accounts side by side. It is also a great option for those who meet the 30 free trades requirements.
However, It isn’t the cheapest option and customers have complained about slow customer service and slow updates on available funds and trades.