Raymond James vs Vanguard, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade (2022)



Raymond James vs Charles Schwab and Others: Fees


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Margin
Rate
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) 11% $0 $0
Fidelity $0 $49.95 9.825% $0 $0
Charles Schwab $0 $49.95 9.825% $0 $0
Tastyworks $0 na $0.50 per contract $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 10.45% $0 $0
Vanguard $0 $20 10% $20* $20*
Raymond James $9.95 $30 $30 1.00% to 2.25% 1.00% to 2.25%


Raymond James, Vanguard and Competitors Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Tastyworks
Etrade
Vanguard
Raymond James


Raymond James vs Fidelity and Others


Raymond James is a full service brokerage firm that caters to investors who need a lot of hand holding. As such, investors have the ability here to hand over their assets and let the firm trade, manage, and oversee the account. Raymond James acts as both investment advisor and custodian for its accounts, a situation that is not ideal.

tastyworks is a new brokerage house with a very different style. It’s part of the tastytrade family of investment operations. This article is going to try to gauge how tastyworks performs as a broker, especially compared against some of its major rivals.


Pricing

As compensation for its full-service account management, Raymond James charges the following annual fee schedule:

Account BalanceRaymond James Annual Fee
First $500,0002.25%
Next half million1.75%
Next $4,000,0001.25%
Balances over $5,000,0001.00%

In addition to the percentage that the broker deducts, there are also commissions for trades (the broker calls them "processing fees", although they are commissions). Stocks, ETFs, REIT's, and UIT's are $9.95 on both the buy and sell sides.

Unlike Raymond James, all other broker's commission for stocks and ETFs is now $0 per trade. There are no annual fees at these brokers, which gives them a major advantage over Raymond James.


Retirement Accounts


If you’re interested in opening an IRA, tastyworks has you covered. The broker provides Traditional, Roth, and SEP accounts. We were disappointed to learn that the broker-dealer does not offer SIMPLE IRA’s or 401(k) plans. Any retirement account you open at tastyworks will come with a hefty $60 closeout fee. Furthermore, we couldn’t find any educational or research materials for retirement savers at this broker.

Moving from tastyworks to Schwab and TD Ameritrade, the situation improves dramatically. Both brokerage firms offer a lot of retirement resources plus zero closeout fee. These two companies also provide a larger selection of IRA’s. Each one also provides a self-employed 401(k).

Fidelity does charge a $50 fee to close a retirement account, although it provides Inherited and Minor IRA’s. Fidelity also has an excellent selection of educational materials and target-date mutual funds. Vanguard has a large selection of retirement accounts plus lots of IRA calculators.

E*Trade doesn’t quite perform as well in this category due to several strange $25 fees for IRA’s. Nevertheless, it does have a large selection of commission-free ETF’s and mutual funds. There’s a good educational section on the broker’s website as well.

Overall, this category is pretty close between TD Ameritrade and Schwab. If you’re going to trade stocks, we recommend Schwab due to its lower equity commission.


Portfolio Management Services


If you’re interested in hiring a professional to manage your investments, you might as well forget about tastyworks. The company does not offer managed accounts. And just to be clear, there is no robo advisor here.

If you do decide to turn over the day-to-day oversight of your life savings to a brokerage firm, you can take a look at all the other brokers in this survey. They all offer portfolio management for a fee, and they all have a computerized option.

Vanguard’s service costs just 30 basis points and comes with an account minimum of $50,000. The asset-based fee goes down if you can deposit at least $5 million, and eventually hits a very low 0.05% for very high balances.

TD Ameritrade customers get to deposit just $5,000 and pay the same rate—a low 0.30%. This is the same pricing schedule that E*Trade offers, but the first year of management is free at E*Trade.

Now we come to Fidelity. Here, the management fee is 0.35% of assets; so it’s a little pricier. But the great thing about Fidelity’s service is that the broker only requires $10 to initiate the robo service.

Believe it or not, Schwab actually charges 0.00% for its robo service. To pay for this unbelievably low rate, the broker maintains large cash positions in these robo accounts and makes money from the ETF’s it trades.

Besides computer algorithms, all five brokerage firms offer human advisors as well. Choosing this option will generally cost more, but it depends on the financial instruments you want to trade and the amount you can deposit. Some traditional plans, for example, can get as low as 20 basis points; although these typically trade only bonds and require steep account balances. Most traditional packages require at least $25,000.

This category is too close to call between tastyworks’ rivals.


Mutual Funds


If you’re planning to buy a few mutual funds at tastyworks, forget it. The broker has zero. The company apparently believes that they’re not very transparent. Obviously, tastyworks is going to lose this category.

But what about its rivals? As it turns out, they all perform very well here. Schwab has the fewest funds out of the five. There are less than 5,800 on Schwab’s platform. More than 3,000 come with no load and no transaction fee, and we were impressed with this second number. We also liked the broker’s report cards on mutual funds, available at no cost.

Vanguard and Fidelity offer more funds than Schwab, but fewer no-load, no-transaction-fee products. They have good research tools and informational materials.

We were also impressed with E*Trade in this category, finding more than 8,000 mutual funds available for purchase. Over 4,000 of them carry zero transaction fee and zero load.

Vanguard’s fund screener is harder to use when compared to the screeners of the other brokers in this survey. We did like Vanguard’s selection of funds, though, which went beyond 7,000.

We recommend Fidelity, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade here.


ETF’s


Now let’s look at ETF’s. Here, tastyworks actually offers them and all of them are commission-free.

When we looked at the broker’s ETF tools, resources, and learning materials, we found a complete failure. tastyworks does not offer any of these features. In fact, there is not even an ETF screener.

The five other broker-dealers in this research study do have ETF screeners. Moreover, they have learning materials if you need to brush up on your fund knowledge. We definitely don’t recommend tastyworks for inexperienced ETF traders.

So whom do we suggest here? Vanguard has recently done something remarkable. It has launched a list of roughly 1,800 ETF’s that are completely commission-free. This is almost the entire ETF space in the United States. This may sound hard to beat, but the other firms actually have better learning materials and screeners for exchange-traded funds.

If you’re new to trading ETF’s, it might actually be a better idea to go with a broker like Fidelity, who offers 200+ commission-free ETF’s and more user-friendly fund tools than Vanguard offers.

We also like Schwab and E*Trade here, both of whom offer hundreds of commission-free ETF’s with lots of great ETF features on their sites. Some of these include select lists of funds, where the broker’s investment advisors make suggestions—and there’s no charge for this great service.

Although the other four brokers do well in this category, we have to go with Vanguard here.


Customer Support


And how does tastyworks compare to its rivals in the arena of customer service? Not much better than the other categories, unfortunately. A tastyworks associate is available from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm, CST. There are no weekend or overnight hours. Besides phone support, there is also an on-line chat function, although it’s harder to find on its website than E*Trade’s. tastyworks does have multiple email addresses for a variety of services, including technical assistance. The broker does not have any branch locations.

Vanguard doesn’t have branch locations, either; but it does offer longer hours (8am till 10pm). For whatever reason, Vanguard still doesn’t offer online chat, and we consider this to be a major failure.

Better service can be found at Fidelity, who has branch locations and 24/7 phone and chat support. Besides these resources, the representatives are usually pretty good.

Although TD Ameritrade doesn’t have an online chat feature, it does provide a chatbot named Ted. The broker has branch locations, 24/7 phone support, and a very useful self-help section on its website.

Schwab and E*Trade both offer 24/7 phone and chat support along with physical locations. Schwab has the most in this survey, with 300 plus. In a recent test chat we had with Schwab, however, the representative couldn’t answer a question about how to trade options.

Schwab, Fidelity, and E*Trade come across as the strongest here.


Trading Tools


tastyworks has some very well-designed trading tools. There are three of them: a browser platform, a desktop system, and a mobile app. All three of them have the same interface and offer a lot of the same tools; although there are some differences. The website has no trading capability.

Although tastyworks put a lot of emphasis on the styling of its platforms, the software programs don’t always measure up to the competition in terms of functionality. For example, TD Ameritrade’s desktop platform offers 400 technical studies, whereas tastyworks offers far less.

Vanguard does not offer a desktop platform at all, while E*Trade has account requirements. Schwab has a great desktop system with StreetSmart Edge, but the broker does not offer anything good in the browser category.

Overall, we like TD Ameritrade the best here.


Open An Account

Tastyworks: $0 commissions + $75 for each friend referred with this referral code.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.



Mobile Apps


Both tastyworks and TD Ameritrade have mobile platforms that are based on their desktop software. This provides a similar interface and trading experience with only a few losses in technical features. Because thinkorswim is so much more robust than tastyworks’ platform, we have to go with TD Ameritrade again in this category.

tastyworks does not offer a smartwatch platform, although E*Trade, Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade do.


Investment Education and Security Research


Last, but certainly not least, is financial education. tastyworks underperforms its rivals here, especially TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Schwab, and E*Trade. Vanguard does provide security research, but its profile pages are rather brief compared to the other four. During our investigation, we found it difficult to locate information on Vanguard’s site.

tastyworks offers free access to tastytrade on all its platforms. tastytrade offers market commentary throughout a trading day, and this usually emphasizes option trading. While some investors will definitely be interested in this, there’s a noticeable lack of resources on retirement planning, education saving, mutual fund information, and so on. tastytrade intentionally skips these areas, which will cause some traders to go elsewhere.

The TD Ameritrade site has a nice feature that allows you to track your history through its educational materials. This makes it easy to know what areas you’ve covered and what topics you haven’t.

We also liked the range of Fidelity’s resources, which include not only articles, but also videos, infographics, and self-guided courses.

We think Fidelity, Schwab, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade would be good choices here.


Raymond James vs Other Brokers Judgement


Raymond James and tastyworks failed to win a single category, or even garner a tie. Although these are different types of broker, that doesn’t necessarily translate into better. TD Ameritrade had the strongest showing here, although the other firms are good choices for certain investment goals.


Open An Account

Tastyworks: $0 commissions + $75 for each friend referred with this referral code.

Open Tastyworks Account

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Open TD Ameritrade Account



About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.