Merrill Lynch review

Merrill Lynch Review

Please note that the following review and rates apply only to Merrill Edge self-directed investing accounts. These do not apply to any other Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith accounts.

Merrill Lynch Review: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $6.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $29.95
Stocks and ETFs automated phone trades $32.50
Options $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds $19.95
Merrill Edge self-directed mutual funds 0.75% gross proceeds, $50 minimum, $250 maximum

Investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bills, notes, bonds, CDs
Merrill Edge minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesMerrill Lynch fees Trading Tools Review

Merrill Lynch review

Merrill Lynch trading tools are available for all types of brokerage accounts (including IRA). The firm offers the usual tools that you would expect from a big brokerage firm.

You have the opportunity to view streaming quotes for your existing holdings. A customizable watchlist allows you to keep your future acquisitions on the radar to wait for a buying opportunity. Programmable alerts allow you to stay abreast of any major events on the investment. Some of them are 52 week highs/lows, percent change in price in a day/week/month/year, or you can set a limit or volume alert. Stock splits are a separate alert. You can even set an alert if the asset trades at a different pace than any of the three primary indices.

Beyond the usual bells and whistles that most casual investors expect, Merrill Edge does maintain a Market Pro application. This full-screen trading platform is designed to give a more active trader the means to take full control of their investments. Merrill Edge Market Pro is a highly customizable application to view movements of various investments in real time.

New to Market Pro is the Technical Insight tool which helps you locate patterns in individual investments based on bullish or bearish technical events. Also included is the Strategy Builder tool which allows you to screen investments based on a whole host of metrics. Active day traders may employ the Intraday Trader tool to receive alerts as technical signals that are triggered throughout the day.

Finally, the Merrill Edge trading application will stay up for an extended period of time before timing out. This gives you the opportunity to keep a watchful eye on your investments, even if you are not actively trading during the day.

Merrill Lynch Pros

  • Free trades if the account meets certain conditions
  • Good banking services including a free checking account
  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Good research tools from Morningstar, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, S&P Capital IQ, Thomson Reuters, and Recognia
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment, but you must call customer support to set it up)
  • No-fee IRA accounts

Merrill Lynch Cons

  • Limited, poorly designed trading tools and charts
  • Technical issues (unusable login cards, website going down, etc.)
  • High margin rates
  • Mutual funds subject to self-directed short-term redemption fee of $39.95 if held less than 90 days

Merrill Lynch Review Summary

In terms of expense, the Merrill Lynch brokerage account is about average in the industry. Expect to pay $6.95 per trade for securities and exchange traded funds (ETFs). No load mutual funds will cost you $19.95 for each transaction. Merrill Edge Self-Directed Mutual Funds carry a commission of 0.75% of the total gross proceeds which is capped at $250 (a $50 minimum charge applies). Options contracts are 75 cents each plus the $6.95 charge per transaction (an additional $23 charge applies for representative-assisted trades).

Bank of America customers have the option to link their accounts with their Merrill Edge accounts. This allows for seamless transfers of money from depository accounts into your brokerage accounts and vice versa. Transfers are made in real time, giving you access to your funds for a quick trade or to pay a bill.

There is a benefit of maintaining at least $50,000 in combined balances (deposit accounts and brokerage accounts): you qualify for Platinum Privileges. Platinum Privileges members get the $6.95 stock trading fee waived for the first 30 trades every month. That is a break from up to $2,500 in trading fees annually.

There are a lot of complaints from Merrill Lynch's customers on the whole range of issues: trading tools bugs, maintenance and account transfer fees, mutual funds availability, order executions and customer service.

We don't recommend opening an account at Merrill Lynch. There are Top Rated Brokerage Companies that have fewer problems while offering better trading tools and more features to their customers.

Merrill Lynch Promotion

None right now.

Open Merrill Lynch account

Merrill Lynch Reviewed by on . Reviewed by Editor and Merrill Lynch customers. Rating: 3.5

Please share us with your friends

Related articles

Online broker promotions:
Copyright ©2009-2015 All rights are reserved.
The stock brokerage firm you select is solely responsible for its services to you, the user. shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of or in any way connected with your use of a brokerage house's services. has partner relationships with other companies. As a partner, we often provide reviews of products and services based on our personal opinions. We are not compensated for positive reviews. While we strive to make sure that the information we present here is true and accurate upon publication, the rates and offers that we share with you may change without notice, so please visit the sites we reference for more up to date information.